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Bible of the priest who smuggled Charles II out of England to go under the hammer

The Bible was purchased for old sixpence in the late 1950s (Photo: PA/Wikimedia)

A Bible that belonged to a priest who smuggled King Charles II out of England during the Civil War is expected to fetch thousands of dollars at auction.

Father John Huddleston’s Bible was purchased in the 1950s for a price equivalent to 2.5 pence today, but is now estimated to sell for at least £2,000.

Auctioneer John Crane hailed the “extremely rare” find, saying that when he first saw it in a Wirral family home, “for the first time in 40 years I was able to use the word ‘unique’.” I remembered what I was thinking.

Father Huddleston arranged for Charles II to gain personal safety in France during the English Civil War, and attended the king’s deathbed in 1685, converting him to the Catholic faith.

Mr Crane said: “Buying this item is buying a piece of history. It is very easy to guess that this Bible was present at the death of King Charles.”

This Bible was purchased in the late 1950s at the Moorfields bookstore in Liverpool for sixpence and is signed by Father Huddleston.

Crane added that the presence of the signature will give an indication of the price.

He said, “Another disbounded book signed by Huddleston sold for £600 in Edinburgh, but it was not his personal bible.”

“The autograph alone is probably worth £600 to £800, but the fact that it’s his personal bible makes it more valuable,” he continued.

“Most other books have been sold before, so they can have commercial value, but this one is so unique that it doesn’t have a better track record.”

Father Huddleston smuggled Charles II out of England during the Civil War (Photo: Wikimedia)
Father John Huddleston’s Bible will be auctioned in Liverpool later this month (Photo: Pennsylvania)
Father Huddleston’s Bible was purchased in the 1950s at a bookstore in Moorfields, Liverpool for a price equivalent to 2.5 pence today (Photo: PA)
Auctioneer John Crane said the item was “unique” (Photo: PA)

Regarding the importance of the Bible, Crane said:

“Had Father Huddleston not orchestrated the escape of King Charles II, the entire course of history might have been altered.”

Given its historical importance, Crane hopes the Bible will not be seized after purchase.

“We hope that public bodies and museums will buy it so that the general public can enjoy looking at it,” he said.

“This is not about money, it’s about keeping it safe in safe hands for the benefit of the general public.”

The Bible is up for auction at in a timed international auction ending March 30th.

Please contact the news team by email.

For other stories like this, check out our news page.

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