A metal detectorist discovered a piece of 400-year-old treasure while going through a muddy field.

Jacob Purdie, aged 30, unearthed the gold pin head in Burton-in-Kendal, which was officially declared as treasure by the county's coroner in December.

Mr Purdie was introduced to the hobby by a friend and now explores the surrounding area every night at work, though this is by far his standout discovery.

He said: "Obviously the gold pin head is my favourite.

"Hopefully, going forward, it's not the last I see of the gold stuff."

The Westmorland Gazette: The pin head is understandably Mr Purdie's favourite find - so farThe pin head is understandably Mr Purdie's favourite find - so far (Image: Jacob Purdie)

The docks shipping agent stumbled across two bullets and a button during his first attempts at metal detecting - but he did not allow that to deter him.

Those efforts have now been rewarded, having also found a quarter noble - a rare gold hammered coin - alongside the pin head.

Due to the fact that single coins do not count as treasure, Mr Purdie was able to keep it after paying the landowner half its value.

The same, however, cannot be said for the pin head, with the Treasure Valuation Committee now working to put an estimate on its true value.

"I just knew I had to declare it straight away - I declared it the same day," Mr Purdie explained.

"Really, it makes absolutely no odds to me how much things are worth - it's just the history that I live for."

The Westmorland Gazette: Mr Purdie's collection through his metal detecting exploitsMr Purdie's collection through his metal detecting exploits (Image: Jacob Purdie)

The pin head is believed to date back to the 16th Century, external and qualifies as treasure under the Treasure Act of 1996 since it is gold and over 300 years old.

Museums have been alerted about the find in case any wish to bid to keep it for their own displays.

Such finds are likely to encourage others to get out and explore the countryside in the pursuit of similar treasure, though beginners should be advised on the protocol around such discoveries.

Potential treasure should be reported to the local coroner within 14 days, with the finder and the land owner sharing the payment 50/50 if a museum wishes to buy it - as long as the finder had permission originally to be searching on the land.

If it is not bought, then the finder is allowed to keep it and can subsequently sell it privately.