Transformation to the double-loop style of buckles for personal adornment is almost complete by 1600AD. What evidence there is for single loop buckles points to their continued use on harness and most of these are made of iron. Some of the examples drawn for this period are from excavations on early-17thc English sites of colonial America as these buckles are very important for dating purposes. One would expect the occasional late-Tudor style to be still in vogue at this time but it would be extremely unlikely that any Medieval survivals would appear on these sites. This of course is not often the case in this country where most sites investigated will have a very wide time span of occupation and dating of types is often therefore much more difficult.
TYPE IIIA - square or rectangular double loop (no's 14-22)
Number 14 is a decorated armour buckle of the late-16th to early-17thc. Number 19 is a baldric or shoulder belt buckle. Cunnington (ref.1) states that the baldric became common after 1628 until 1700. Number 21 of the mid-17thc shows openwork elaboration on a basic rectangular shape. Number 22 with its curved frame is a shoe buckle of the late-17thc.
TYPE IIIB - circular double loop (no's 23-29)
Number 23 of the early 17thc is another example of the 'winged' ornamentation common at this period. Number 24 is mid-17thc whilst number 25 with openwork extensions to its circular frame can only be given a general late-17th to early-18thc date. Number 26 with its faceted frame of triangular section is from Bolingbroke Castle, Lincs.3 in a context of 1650-1675. Numbers 27-29 are similar oval buckles of mid to late-17thc date. Number 29 is silver decorated with rosettes and was found in colonial America.4 Numbers 27-28 have English contexts.
TYPE IIIC - 'figure-of-eight' double loop (no's 30-45)
Number 30 is a late-16th to mid-17thc type (see also fig.7:44). Despite the earlier dating context of the Sandal Castle examples most of the known buckles of this type (fig.8:30) appear to be from the first half of the 17thc. In addition to those from Sandal Castle, another comes from a dated context at Banbury Castle5 which like Sandal was defended during the English Civil War. The Banbury buckle, which was dated to 1644-5, had the remains of a leather strap attached directly to the central bar. Numbers 31-32 are other reasonably common types that date to the first half of the 17thc. Number 33 from colonial America and 34 from Sidbury6 are more decorative examples with rosettes on the frame and these date to the late-17thc, number 34 from a context of c1680. Number 36 is a well-known type of baldric buckle of mid-17thc date. Number 37 is from Bolingbroke Castle, Lincs. (see ref.3) from a context of 1650-1675. Numbers 38-42 seem to be standard types that turn up fairly frequently in 17thc contexts, both here and on American sites. They either have four points of decoration (as numbers 38-40) or just two points at the head of the loop (as numbers 41-42). Number 40 is from Sidbury (see ref.6) in a context of 1680. Number 43 is a similar type but has more strongly profiled loops. Number 44 was found in Jamestown, Virginia and its exact parallel was found by myself near Louth, Lincolnshire.7 Number 45 is a late-17th to early-18thc example.
TYPE IIID - trapezium shape double loop (no's 46-62)
This type first appears in the last quarter of the 16thc. The two larger examples no's 46-47 are belt buckles and the rest are for spurs. Numbers 48-49 exhibit the winged projections in common with other types of the 17thc whilst numbers 50-51 have very elaborate openwork-panel extensions to the frame. Numbers 56-57 are more commonly found with number 58 a variation on the same style. Numbers 60-62 are also fairly common and date to the mid-17thc. On some of these the sides are becoming almost straight.
TYPE IVF - double loop belt-slides (no's 63-64)
These are belt-slides with a small loop attachment for hanging the sword belt via a hook fastener.
1. A Handbook of English Costume in the 17th Century - Cunnington CW and P, 1963
2. A History of Shoe Fashions - Northampton Museum Catalogue, 1975
3. Excavations at Bolingbroke Castle, Lincs. 1973 - Post-Medieval Archaeology 10 - Drewett P, 1976
4. Artifacts of Colonial America - Noel-Hume I.
5. Excavations of the site of Banbury Castle - Oxonensia 41 - Rodwell K A, 1976
6. Excavations in Sidbury - Worcester Archaeological Society 3;vol 7 - Carver, 1980
7. This is a remarkable coincidence as Captain John Smith who founded Jamestown and was the first President of Virginia is a
celebrated 'old boy' of my former school in Lincolnshire. Without suggesting that either of these buckles belonged to Smith,
they do nevertheless provide a tangible link between some of the earliest English colonists to settle in America and the
country which they left behind.