When thinking of likely places to find a rare piece of Canadian history, the attic of a North-east home would not seem the best spot.

So when an extremely scarce 17th-century map of North America and Canada was discovered behind a water tank in a Huntly home, it was greeted with surprise.

The valuable document was unearthed following the death of Nadia Moulton-Barrett, the owner of the House of Glennie.
And the 312-year-old map has now been sold at auction for more than £200,000.

Lawrences Auctioneers, of Somerset, were put in charge of valuing the contents of Mrs Moulton-Barrett’s estate when she died last year. And they stumbled upon the map hidden in the attic.

Richard Kay, of the auction house, spoke about his delight at the find and admitted that it was still not completely clear how the map had made it to the North-east.

“Nadia’s father had a few businesses in Canada, so we believe that he must have bought the map in North America,” he said. “It really was an extraordinary find in such an unexpected place.

It looked too good to be true and even when we speak of it now, it sounds too good to be true. It is a remarkable piece of rare Canadian history.”

The map was created by Englishman John Thornton, an eminent mapmaker of the time, who is believed to have been paid £3 to produce the document, which fetched £203,150 at auction.

The map’s new owner, Daniel Crouch, whose firm in Oxford specialises in antique atlases and maps, said: “We are delighted to have something of such importance. It is a once in a lifetime find.”