A piece of Robert Burns' writing, put away for safekeeping 200 years ago, shortly after the bard penned it, has sold at auction for £27,500.

With a guide price of £12,000 at Bonhams' fine books and manuscripts auction, the final offer far exceeded that. 

The Banks of Cree manuscript was bought by New Cumnock businessman and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter's foundation, who said that it was coming back to its 'rightful home' as he plans to return it to Ayrshire.

It had been kept in an album at Denston Hall in Suffolk, where Bonhams said it it had clearly been put away for safekeeping "a few years after publication".

Burns wrote The Banks of the Cree in 1794 to accompany a tune composed by Lady Elizabeth Heron.

Ayr Advertiser: Banks of Cree manuscript. Picture courtesy of Bonhams.Banks of Cree manuscript. Picture courtesy of Bonhams.

She was married to Patrick Heron - an MP for Kirkcudbright - who owned an estate crossed by the River Cree.

Burns was said to be a regular visitor to the Kirroughtree estate in Dumfries and Galloway and he penned a number of ballads to support Heron's election campaign in the late 18th Century.

There are a number of newspaper cuttings surrounding it, which date back to the early 19th Century.

Confirming The Hunter Foundation’s purchase of Burns The Banks of the Cree, Sir Tom Hunter commented: “I’m delighted that Burns exceptional work, The Banks of the Cree is not just staying in the UK, its coming home to Scotland and Ayrshire, its rightful home, where in due course it will be made available for all to enjoy.”