Toys from the past

A single chess piece holding a shield and sword

‘Beserker’ rook from the Lewis Chessmen By Rob Roy (Flickr: Beserker, Lewis Chessmen, British Museum) 

The Lewis or Uig Chessmen were discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.  The group of 12th century chess pieces are made from walrus ivory and likely to have originally come from Norway.

Local legend has it that the person who found them in a sand dune in Uig Bay ran away terrified he’d disturbed an group of elves!

The chess pieces, with their beautifully expressive faces, can today be seen in the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland.

For a lively, hands on session exploring old toys and games contact Mrs History for further details.

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