An “extremely rare” poem written by Charlotte Bronte is set to fetch up to £45,000 at auction.

The manuscript, penned by the famous Haworth literary sister when she was a young teenager, goes under the hammer at Bonhams in London on April 10.

The 16-line poem has been given an auction estimate of between £40,000 and £45,000.

It is among more than 260 poetical manuscripts and portraits of poets being sold by Oxfordshire collector Roy Davids, which together are expected to sell for up to £800,000.

A spokesman for Bonhams said: “Poetical manuscripts by Charlotte Bronte are extremely rare – only two others have been sold at auction in 40 years or more. This may be the last poem by her in private hands.”

The Bronte Parsonage Museum at Haworth said it was aware of the poem coming up for sale but had not yet decided whether to bid.

Charlotte, who was born in 1816, is best known for Jane Eyre but she also penned about 200 poems.

The one coming up for auction is among her earliest. It is dated December 14, 1829, when she was only 13.

The poem, like other works by the Bronte children, was penned in tiny handwriting.

Bronte expert and author Juliet Barker said this was probably partly due to the expense and shortage of paper.

“They developed a minuscule hand – designed to look like bookprint – which allowed them to write many more words to the page,” she said. “The writing cannot be read without a magnifying glass, but as all the young Brontes were shortsighted this would not have been so much of a problem to them.

“The tiny hand also had the advantage of being illegible to their father and aunt, so the children enjoyed the delicious thrill knowing that the contents of their little books were a secret shared only among themselves.”

Charlotte died in March, 1855, aged 38.