Moseley Old Hall is an Elizabethan house famous for ‘saving a king’ – the priest hole in the house helped King Charles II escape after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
The Roman Missal prayer book was owned and signed by Father John Huddleston (1608-98). Huddleston was among those who helped Charles II hide from Cromwell’s army in 1651.
He was staying at Moseley Old Hall, working as chaplain to prominent local Catholic Thomas Whitgreave, when the monarch was concealed in the priest hole. Troops came to the estate but did not search the house and Charles was able to escape.
Following the Restoration in 1660 Huddleston was invited to live at Somerset House in London under royal protection. When Charles II lay dying on February 5, 1685, Huddleston was brought to his bedside, with the introduction “Sire, this good man once saved your life. He now comes to save your soul.”
Sarah Kay, cultural heritage curator for the National Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in the bidding for the Missal but are still deciding on options for display at Moseley Old Hall and need to assess whether any conservation work will be needed. We will share details of when visitors can see the book, in due course.”
The National Trust purchased the book at a timed online sale, ending March 30, at Cato Crane in Liverpool for a hammer price of £6700 (plus 33.6% buyer’s premium inc. VAT), against an estimate of £2000-3000 (as reported in ATG 2588).
The prayer book, published in 1623, comes with associated newspaper cuttings and research notes following numerous exhibitions including during the 1950s and 1960s in Liverpool and at Moseley Old Hall, Staffordshire.
The book had been purchased in Liverpool book shop McGoff’s in 1950 for 6d by a JJ Procter who lived in Cheshire at the time. It stayed in the same family until this sale.
Cato Crane’s John Crane said he is looking forward to the book going on public display.