A ‘VERY FINE’ silver buckle discovered on land in Cumbria by a metal detectorist has been officially declared as treasure at a coroner’s inquest. 

A treasure inquest was held at Cockermouth Coroner’s Court by Dr Nicholas Shaw, assistant coroner for Cumbria, to determine if a post-mediaeval ornate silver buckle found by David Reed while metal detecting on land near Penrith on November 30, 2022, met the criteria under the Treasure Act 1996. 

The Act says that any item that is at least 300 years old and is composed of at least ten per cent precious metal is officially treasure.

Mr Reed reported his discovery to the local finds team as potentially treasure, and the buckle was submitted to the British Museum for examination. 

Dr Shaw read out an overview statement on the assessment submitted by finds liaison officer for Lancashire and Cumbria, Pauline Clarke. 

He said: “The overview statement is that this is a fine and near complete rectangular silver shoe or knee buckle with elaborate molded open-work decoration. 

“It appears to be a one-piece buckle rather than one with a drilled spindle. 

“The chape (a plate on the right of the buckle connecting to a missing strap) is hallmarked by a ‘B’ surmounted by a crown. 

“This is not readily identifiable as a maker’s mark or date mark, and there were no other hallmarks. 

“It is 17 millimetres long by 16 millimetres wide, and weighs 4.07 grammes. 

“A Whitehead book from 2003 has been used as a reference, and although there are no direct parallels in this book, it appears that this is a one-piece rectangular framed buckle that seems to date between 1600 and 1700.”

Dr Shaw concluded: “This buckle is at least 300 years old, possibly older.

“It appears to have a composition of more than ten per cent precious metal, and therefore meets the criteria under the Treasure Act.

“I have been provided with nice pictures of the object, which does indeed look a very fine buckle.”

While details of the location of the land where treasure is found and its ownership is not generally made public at an inquest, the owner of the land will generally take a share of the proceeds of treasure with the finders.