Kirk chase £ 1m from treasure hunt Viking find
A church is chasing the metal detector enthusiast who found Viking treasure for £ 1million.
Derek McLennan, from Hollybush, is being sued by the Church of Scotland for half the value of the haul, known as the Galloway Hoard.
The 52- year- old retired businessman, who lives with his wife Sharon, has refused to hand over any cash to the kirk despite a written agreement.
The case will now call at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
McLennan found the 1000- year- old Viking trove two- feet under a Galloway beach on land owned by the Kirk.
He faces the court case five years after the astonishing discovery.
With him at the time was the Reverend David Bartholomew and local pastor Mike Smith.
The “outstanding and exceptional” haul of 100 items included a rare gold ingot, beads, crystals and a decorated silver- gilt cup thought to be of Byzantine origin.
McLennan’s payment was raised through more than £ 430,000 in public donations, £ 1million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, £ 150,000 from the Scottish Government and £ 400,000 from the Art Fund.
The hoard – the biggest ever to be found in the UK – has since been handed over to National Museums Scotland for exhibition.
The Rev Bartholomew said: “In this case there was a written agreement between the general trustees of the Church of Scotland and Derek.
“He felt very badly treated by the treasure trove system in Scotland who decide on rewards. Experts took control and he was pushed to the edge a bit. He did everything by the book in terms of working with the system.
“But he felt because of the way he was treated by the system he wanted to put the whole thing behind him. It’s an absolute mystery to me why it has got to this stage.”
Rev Bartholomew claimed he’s tried in vain to contact Derek about the row.
He said: “I emailed him and got nothing back and actually sent a letter about a year ago saying I’d heard the church hasn’t got anything and it’s not in your interests or anyone’s interests for it to get to a court case.”
The Church of Scotland confirmed their court action. But a spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate for us to provide further commentary.”
McLennan is not commenting.
It’s an absolute mystery to me why it has got to this stage