A "spooky" image of a priest executed for treason over the Gunpowder Plot has appeared on a 17th century book thought to be bound in his skin, it is claimed.

The lot is so rare no reserve price has been put on it

Auctioneers said the face of Father Henry Garnet could be seen peering from the cover of the "rare and macabre" book about the Jesuit priest's death.

The item will go under the hammer at Wilkinson's Auctioneers in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, on Sunday.

Garnet, was hanged in May 1606 for his involvement in the Gunpowder Plot.

Sid Wilkinson, from Wilkinson's Auctioneers, said: "It's a little bit spooky because the front of the book looks like it has the face of a man on it, which is presumed to be the victim's face."

Role disputed

The book, called A True and Perfect Relation of the Whole Proceedings Against the Late Most Barbarous Traitors, Garnet, a Jesuit and his Confederates, was published in 1606 just after his execution.

The lot is considered so unusual there is no reserve price attached to it.

Garnet's involvement in the plot to kill King James I was controversial. He claimed he knew about the conspiracy but was not involved.

Some scholars now believe he had been trying to prevent the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament rather than conspiring to kill the King.

According to legend, a piece of bloodstained straw found at the scene of his execution started to develop an exact image of the priest's face.