8th August 2015 — 34 Comments

finishedBefore the zipper was invented, the buckle was perhaps one of the chief methods of securing two ends together. This ‘wrinkly’ now prefers Velcro. Buckles come in various shapes and sizes depending on the intended use and fashion of the time. Most detectorists will have a selection, but not always knowing much about them. There is a solution for those wanting to do a little research.

I have always considered Chris Marshall’s Buckle Pages the definitive voice on the subject. He discusses buckles from Roman to Georgian times, as well the history. Well worth a place in your ‘favourites’. The buckle visual catalogue and weblinks are courtesy of UKDFD.

During the latter part of my detecting ‘career’ I just threw the buckles into – what has turned out to be – my ‘magic porridge pot’ of a box. I have extracted most them, and this what they look like:


© John Winter – Click to Enlarge

Can you see that a circa 16th C duck-head type buckle is shown, but wasn’t in the box. How it got in there I don’t know – the scan was done before I realised. There is also a couple of ornate and other interesting examples.

The one I wish to talk about in this blog post is perhaps the plainest, but in many ways the most interesting. The example shown below has a tangible history to which I can relate and was found on the same site as the Mills Grenade Base Plug, which means it can be accurately dated to the time of WW1.


Composite Picture

This type of buckle can also be seen on the webbing belt shown below, courtesy of dbgmilitariaI, and was issued to troops in 1918.


My First Buckle Find

I remember my first buckle find very well, although I wasn’t exactly sure what it was … turned out to be a shoe buckle, a fashion accessory worn by men and woman since the early 1200’s. They were made of a variety of materials including brass, steel, silver or silver gilt. Buckles for formal wear were set with diamonds, quartz or imitation jewels. This type are rarely found be detectorists! Buckled shoes began to replace tied shoes in the mid-17th century.

Samuel Pepys wrote the following in his Diary for 22 January 1660:


I wonder if they were anything like Mrs John’s first buckle find …

My Shoe Buckle

© Mrs John



© JW


My mate Dave took another slurp of his builder’s tea, looked me straight in the eye and declared that he’d just bought a Shite Shirt. On this occasion I didn’t trust my ears, wasn’t sure what he’d said, so asked him to repeat. This time he enunciated his words carefully, “I’VE JUST BOUGHT A SHITE SHIRT”, and proceeded to tell the story.

Evidently, the shirts are the height of fashion and celebrity detectorists like PullTabPeter and Deep Digger Dennis wear them on special social occasions, like chatting up landowners. After looking at the website, I also couldn’t resist the allure, splashed out and bought a similar one from Mutts Nuts, because it seemed cheaper and of equal quality.

© JW – Shirt from Mutts Nuts

MuttsI tried it on, decided it didn’t do anything for me, and cast it into the wardrobe.


 … but I’ve now sold it to a friend, who is a shirt connoisseur and loves it!

UPDATE – Mutts Nuts Have a Sense of Humour

Thank you for the kind offer. You really are the MUTTS NUTS!


Posts Twitter

The copyright owner of content on this blog is John Winter, unless noted otherwise. Every effort has been made to assure no material was used without permission. If you are the owner and find that your material was inadvertently used without permission then please contact me. Your material will be removed immediately or your copyright message will be added, whatever you prefer.

34 responses to BUCKLE UP for a SHITE POST

  1. That is some shirt ..now i know what one buckle was used for. 🙂

  2. In the words of the song:
    Noo Samson was a michty man. He focht wl’ cuddies’ jaws
    And he won a score o’ battles wearing crimson flannel drawers**
    And wi’ you and wi’ you and wi’ ‘you Johnny Lad.
    I’ll dance the buckles off my shoon
    Wi’ you, my Johnny Lad.

    **and probably Shite Shirts…

    Take care John, those shirts may give you retinal detachment…

  3. Yes John seen a few of them around they must be a common one.
    We donated all our finds to the land owner on our last dig as he wanted to display them in his old house.
    He has my fist buckle and with luck it will get some use again by the way i don’t know what kind of buckle it was just that it was old.

  4. That is some shirt! Chatting up landowners around here in that might get one killed!

    Love that selection of buckles, John. Try as we might here in the New World we just can’t muster up such a neat variety. At least I can’t.

  5. I never knew such a shite topic full of crap could be so interesting to read ..thanks for the info on the WW1 webbing belt buckle ..pretty sure I have found one of these a few years back

  6. Your Mutts Nuts shirt wouldn’t get you much help in our part of Oz.
    I will have a look at the buckle post link and see if it is worth adding to our forums resource section.

  7. thanks for the link too. I don’t think I’d have worn that shirt in the 60’s let alone today

  8. interesting read John, I just love the shirt.

  9. Excellent post again John thank you 🙂

    And I must say I LOVE the shirt haha

  10. That Dicky Dirt is a bit like an ACE250,,,no volume control!

  11. Fantastic shirt. I must go a buy a couple or three.

  12. That shirt is wrong on so many levels John ! Hideous ! Maybe give it a new lease of life and reintroduce “shoddy” if any shirt deserves that accolade its that one !

  13. I love the shirt and the buckle post.

    Remember John, you still need to wear it to waitrose with pictures taken.

    It will bring the colour out in your eyes :p

    Thanks John


  14. I’ve used C.J’s site for a long time John but this must be an up-dated version. It’s much better. All I’ve ever been able to do in the past is find one similar and give it a date. The descriptions on the same page is great. Now I know what they were used for and when.
    Thanks for the link.
    As for the shirt, I can only assume you had a senior moment when you ordered it.!!!!!!

  15. Those shirts are for eccentric millionaires.

  16. Hey John, send one of those shirts to you-know-who; see if he finds anything negative to say about your kind gift!

    This post has (reluctantly) been edited!

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  17. Well that was an interesting sartorial article John. I’m pleased that you deprived us of a “selfie” whilst modelling the shite shirt.

  18. Our shirts aren’t for everyone. Like marmite. We love this post and we’re offering everyone who reads it 10% off their order. Just enter MARMITE10 at the checkout!

  19. bet your happy you sold that shirt before they offered 10% discount lol

Would you like to leave a response?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.