A rare 16th century Bible which could be worth up to £10,000 if sold at auction has been discovered in a church in Devon.
The Bishop’s Bible, which is one of just 70 printed more than 400 years ago, was discovered during a clear out at St James’ Church in Teignmouth and could have ended up thrown in a skip.
It was found in poor condition by church reader Arthur Brooks, who rescued it from being discarded after recognising its potential value. It has now been restored and protected for future generations.
He said: “It was rotting away in a cupboard, the wooden and leather covers covered in beetles. The pages were like blotting paper and didn’t smell too good.”
Experts at Exeter Museum killed off the bugs and have restored the bible which was published by London firm Charles Barker in 1591 – the only Bible allowed to be printed at the time by the monarch Queen Elizabeth I.
The translated version in the book was largely replaced by that ordered by King James I in 1604 in an attempt to forge unity between England and Scotland. It was completed by 1611 and is widely regarded as the most influential book ever written in English.