Visitors to Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum have raised the funds needed to save for the nation a hoard of Saxon coins discovered by a metal detectorist in a south Oxfordshire field.

Last year a £70,000 appeal was launched by staff at the Beaumont Street museum to save the treasure.

Members of the public initially raised £44,000 and the final £26,000 needed was raised by yesterday's deadline, with more than 700 people contributing to the appeal.

The Ashmolean has now raised the £1.35m needed to buy the hoard found by former marketing executive James Mather in a farmer’s field in Watlington in October 2015 and staff are celebrating the acquisition today.

Director of the Ashmolean Dr Xa Sturgis said: "The Watlington Hoard is one of the most exciting and important acquisitions we have ever made, particularly significant because it was found in Oxfordshire.

"To be able to keep the hoard in the county and put it on display with the Ashmolean’s Anglo-Saxon collections, which include the world-famous Alfred Jewel, was an opportunity we could not miss."

The museum is planning an education programme for the hoard and on February 11 the treasures will go on display at the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock, until March 19.

Mr Mather said earlier the Ashmolean would be the ‘natural home’ for the collection.

The collection of about 200 silver coins, seven items of jewellery and 15 silver ingots date back to the ninth century, including many coins of Alfred the Great, who was born in Wantage and King of Wessex from 871 to 899.

The treasure was valued at £1.35m by the Treasure Valuation Committee and the museum received a £1.05m donation from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Then there was a further £150,000 donation from the Art Fund, and contributions from private individuals, Patrons of the museum and its visitors.