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 is a British writer, broadcaster and the the author of the book Stuff Brits Like. He is Anglophenia's resident Brit blogger, having written BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog, the Top of the Pops website, and for NME, the Guardian and elsewhere. Favorite topics include slang, Doctor Who and cramming as much music into Anglophenia as he can manage. He invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic
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