A RARE button which was found near Storrington has been formally declared treasure by the county coroner.
The 16th century silver button was discovered in a field by metal detector user Anthony Gill in February this year.
In a treasure trove inquest held in Chichester on Tuesday, coroner Penelope Schofield heard the intricate button featured a number of circles of metal which were attached to a main loop which was attached to clothing.
It measured 16.5 millimetres by 19.5 millimetres and weighed 3.91 grams.
The button was sent to the British Museum for examination and experts there confirmed it had at least ten per cent precious metal which qualified it to be classed as treasure.
A finds officer told the inquest that it dated from the 16th century.
Button making was a growth industry in 16th century Europe, although most garments were still held closed with laces or hooks and loops.
Buttons would be added as an embellishment, to show the status and wealth of the wearer, and it was only later on in the 16th century that buttons began to serve any practical purpose.
Many button makers started their own guilds, often in association with their local lacemakers’ guild.
A craftsman making a button for a high quality piece of clothing might take a wooden bead and then loop and weave a length of thread around and through it to create an intricate effect, similar to a woven basket.
Although this piece is reminiscent of a needle looped button, the button maker has used metal to create a similar effect, presumably for a particularly wealthy client.
The inquest heard that Horsham Museum had expressed an interest in acquiring the button for display.