Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Play for a king sells for 84,000

The manuscript
The manuscript is believed to date from the 17th Century

A Jacobean manuscript of a play which was to have been performed for James I and was later found in a trunk at a castle has sold at auction for £84,000.

The heavily crossed out draft for The Amazon was discovered in an attic at Powis Castle in Welshpool, Powys.

The hitherto unknown play by Lord Edward Herbert of Chirbury had been valued at £90,000 by Bonhams in London.

It is believed the play was to have been performed before the king and his court in 1618, but it was cancelled.

The manuscript was found in a folder buried in the trunk, along with other documents.

It is unclear who bought the document when it was sold at auction in London.

'Meticulously listed'

It was uncovered during a valuation at Powis Castle, when the Earl of Powis showed a Bonhams team into a room, where he had two trunks of manuscripts.

David Park of Bonhams said: "There were typed letters from the estate's archive and the like mixed in with 17th Century property deeds, themselves not without interest.

"It turned out later that everything in the trunks had been meticulously listed, item by item. But with one exception. This was a folder, marked, 'old poems'.

"Some of these were just 17th Century copies - others were clearly in the hand of Lord Powis's forebear, Lord Herbert of Chirbury."

Mr Park said Lord Chirbury was best known for his works on philosophy and an extremely lively autobiography which art historian and politician Horace Walpole published in the 18th Century.

It is believed Lord Chirbury's play was to have been performed on New Year's Day in 1618, but it was cancelled.

Bonhams said the play was about women's liberation, and "how well women would do without men" and "how useful divorce is".

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