Kent Archaeological Review extract

Medieval Bronze Belt-Chape from Buckland, Dover.
by Wendy Williams.

A bronze object recently found in the grounds of St Andrews Church, Buckland by Mr S Pearson of Deal has been identified by the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit as a fine example of a bronze medieval belt-chape of a type popular in the 13th and 14th centuries AD. It is generally thought that the knotted belt went out of fashion during the 12th century to be replaced by a belt with a metal buckle and pendant tag terminating in a belt-chape. Although some specimens have survived until the present day, most of our information about the evolution of these small articles of dress has been obtained from funerary brasses and effigies of the period. It is thus known that belt-chapes were popular in both male and female civilian dress and male military costume.

PHOTO: Bronze medieval belt-chape.

A bronze medieval belt-chape of a type popular in the 13th and 14th centuries.
Drawn by Wendy Williams.

The Buckland belt-chape consists of the characteristic three separate pieces, two flat outer plates (only one of which survives) covering a fork-shaped central piece, between the prongs of which the strap was fixed. At one end there are two small bronze rivets or nails for attachment on either side of a decorative opening called the ogival opening. The object tapers towards the other end where there is a terminal knob, perhaps representing an acorn. A very similar belt-chape has been found on the effigy of a lady at Clehonger, Herefordshire' which has been dated circa 1350.

1. Medieval Catalogue, London Museum, HMSO, (Reprinted 1967), figure 84/11, page 266.
Antiq. Journal, XIII, 1933, 496.
Antiq. Journal, XIV, 1934, 183.
Antiq. Journal, XV, 1935, 204.
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