'Very rare' piece of Royal history found at a house on the Wirral sells at auction for £6900

Undated handout photo issued by Cato Crane Auctioneers of Father John Huddleston's bible (left) which is set to fetch thousands at auction later this month in Liverpool.
Father John Huddleston's bible Credit: Press Association

The bible of the priest who smuggled King Charles II out of England during the Civil War has sold for almost £7000 at auction.

Father John Huddleston’s bible was bought for the modern equivalent of two and a half pence in the 1950s and was estimated to fetch £2,000.

Auctioneer John Crane said the bible is a “very rare” item, and when he first saw it, in the house of a family in the Wirral.

He said it was “the first time in 40 years since being an auctioneer I could use the word ‘unique'”.

Father Huddleston arranged for King Charles II to seek safety in France during the English Civil War, and attended the monarch’s death bed to convert him to the Catholic faith in 1685.

Father John Huddleston's bible Credit: Press Association

Mr Crane said: “It could be assumed quite comfortably that this bible was present at the death of King Charles.”

The bible was purchased for six old pence in the late 1950s, at a book shop in Moorfields, Liverpool, and contains the signature of Father Huddleston.

Mr Crane added that the presence of a signature gave an indication of price point. He said “a signature by Huddleston on another disbound book was sold in Edinburgh for £600 but it wasn’t his personal bible.

“The signature alone is probably worth £600 to £800 but the lift in the value would be the fact that it’s his personal bible.

“Most other books you can put a commercial value on, because they’ve been sold before, but this book is so unique, there’s no track record to go on.”

Talking about the importance of the bible, Mr Crane said: "Its association with King Charles and the friendship between him and Father Huddleston makes it unique.

"If it wasn’t for Father Huddleston organising King Charles II’s escape, it might have changed the whole course of history."

Mr Crane added: "All we can say about the buyer is despite there being many private bidders and collectors, it was eventually bought by a public institution, who I'm sure in due course will put it on display."

The auctioneer said that the importance of the item cannot be overstated, given that King Charles II's fate could have been altogether different if Father Huddleston did not assist in his escape during the Civil War.

Father John Huddleston's bible which is set to fetch thousands at auction later this month in Liverpool. Credit: Press Association