The World’s Oldest Football (Being Looked At By A Dalek)

I’m sorry, this should really go in the Doctor Who’s Day roundup (coming soon!), but I can’t resist.

So there’s this story about the world’s oldest existing football, which was found down the back of some panelling in the Queen’s Chamber of Stirling Castle, former home of the Scottish royal family. It’s thought the ball, which is made of sewn-together leather patches, over an inflated pig’s bladder, ended up back there during a redecoration in the 1540s. It may even be one of four balls bought for the castle by King James IV, in the 1490s, and played with by the young Mary (Queen of Scots), when she was little.

Michael McGinnes, collections manager at the Smith Museum in Stirling, told BBC News:  “It was in the Queen’s bedchamber. So you assume that anything in that area was a secure zone, and that Mary of Guise – her mother – wouldn’t have allowed anything in there that wasn’t meant to be there.”

The museum is offering visitors the chance to handle the ball, and that is why this picture was taken. It’s the BBC reporter Huw Williams holding the ball, next to one of the museum’s two Daleks. But look! The Dalek appears to have taken a shine to this intruiging historical find.

Must be a history buff on the quiet…

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2. He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage. Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic
View all posts by Fraser McAlpine.