Rosalind Le Quesne, the Société’s assistant archaeologist, who recorded the item, said that the pewter and brass buckle would likely have been worn by a man who wanted to appear wealthy.
It was found by Jonathan Bull, who had spent several hours scouring the beach before finally finding something worth keeping.
‘I had been digging up lots of “targets” – mostly rubbish,’ he said.
‘But then the machine beeped and I decided it would be my last dig of the day. The wet sand is fairly hard to dig, almost like liquid cement, and the buckle was deep.
‘The hole continually filling up with seawater didn’t help at all but it finally came up after a fair amount of work. It isn’t my usual type of find but it has grown on me and I now really like it.’
Miss Le Quesne said that she and Mr Bull both estimated that the shoe buckle was from between 1720 and 1750, after comparing it with similar items on an antiquities website.
The buckle, which is roughly 9 cm by 6.5 cm, has been recorded by the Société and returned to Mr Bull.
‘We have seen smaller buckles that have been found but they are normally just brass, not pewter and brass,’ Miss Le Quesne said.
‘It would be from a man’s shoe, probably someone who considered themselves wealthy, and it’s what we would think of as “bling”.
‘The buckle is in very good condition and the hinge works, so it could probably still be used.’