Rare Tudor science books including works by the man who invented the protractor have fetched £74,000 at auction - after they were found stuffed in a thatch roof.

The 'sammelband' is a collection of separately printed texts later bound together and contained ten rare scientific works in binding.

The 'very very' rare books were found under bird poo and straw-covered thatching in a home North Wiltshire - and may have been there for centuries.

It includes a book by Tudor author Thomas Blundeville - who invented the protractor.

A page from the Thomas Blundeville book. Photo: SWNS

A page from the Thomas Blundeville book. Photo: SWNS

The collection was sold on for five shillings in 1716 - but fetched £62,000 hammer price yesterday (Wednesday, April 6) at Dominic Winter Auctioneers.

That is £74,400 including 20 per cent buyer's premium and bought by a UK phone bidder.

Auctioneer Chris Albury said: ''It was found under straw and owl pellets and droppings on the floor under a thatched roof.

''It is believed to have been there for nearly 200 years since the roof was placed over an older one.

''I am so pleased that it got the right level of interest and attention. I will never forget this one.'' Chris said the books seem to have been owned by a 'Viscount Campden'.

Likely one of the first three Viscounts the find is surprising as none were known as particularly scientific or 'bookish' men, Albury says.

Written by famous authors such as Thomas Blundeville, Edward Wright and Leonard Digges, the books date back to Tudor rule.

It includes a book by Blundeville; "A Briefe Description of Universal Mappes and Cardes, and of Their Use: and also of the use of Ptholemey his Tables".

Thomas Blundeville was a pioneering humanist writer and mathematician.

He is known for work on logic, astronomy and for inventing the protractor - an everyday classroom tool in most schools.