AN ornate casket presented to a former Blackburn mayor and MP, along with a scroll giving him the freedom of the borough, will be sold at auction.

The Edwardian freedom casket was given to Sir William Hornby and contained the presentation scroll giving him the freedom on December 4, 1902.

It will be offered at auction by Woolley & Wallis Salisbury Salerooms in a silver sale on April 29 and 30, and is estimated to make between £10,000 and £15,000.

The casket is a true throwback to the arts and crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Sir William, born in 1841 in Raikes Hall, Blackburn, followed in his family’s footsteps, both his father and grandfather having been mayors of Blackburn.

Unlike his predecessors, though, Sir William was a reluctant candidate, both for being a conservative MP for Blackburn and the mayor.

A spokesman for the salerooms said: “He was elected despite his confession that he did not wish to stand and was by his own admission a terrible public speaker, which may have contributed to his unwillingness.

“He was noted as having never spoken, or attempted to speak, in Parliament throughout his 24-year career there from 1886 to 1910.

“He was mayor of Blackburn in the Coronation year of 1901 to 1902.

“Estimated at £10,000 to 15,000, the rectangular casket is applied with cabochons and panels illustrating gentlemen and women, each doing different activities, including shooting, masonry, and spinning.”

The 32.5cm long casket includes illustrations of shooting, masonry and spinning.

Four of the enamel plaques are within rope-work borders, depicting the bees and horn, which form the Arms of Blackburn.