A metal detectorist unearthed an intricate piece of treasure that is thought to be more than 300 years old in a field in Chenies.

An impressive silver scabbard chape was found under topsoil in a freshly cultivated field in the Chenies area by metal detectorist Stephen Gaisford.

A scabbard is a sheath for the blade or a sword or a dagger, and the chape is a decorative protective fitting at the bottom of the scabbard.

Mr Gaisford, who was metal detecting with the permission of the landowner, reported his find to Buckinghamshire Coroner’s Court so an inquest could be held to determine if it is classed as “treasure” or not, as per the Treasure Act 1996.

The treasure inquest, held on Tuesday, November 23, heard that the decorative chape is 45.2mm long, 5mm thick and has a base diameter of 33.5mm. It weighs 7.66 grams.

It is not clear when the chape was discovered by Mr Gaisford, but was either in 2018 or 2019. The location of the find is kept deliberately vague, but it was in the Chenies area.

A report on the chape determined it was probably over 300 years old, likely dating somewhere between 1500 and 1700 AD, and it is silver.

It would probably have been attached to the sheath of a dagger or a rapier, but it is much more ornate than those previously seen from a similar time period.

Because of its age and its silver content, the chape was deemed to be classified as treasure. Following the inquest, a museum may decide to keep the treasure.

If they do, the Treasure Valuation Committee will decide how much it is worth – and how much will go to anyone eligible for a share of the find.