The World's Oldest Football

Contributed by Smith Museum Stirling Scotland

The World’s Oldest Football, 1540, found in Stirling Castle.
© Smith Art Gallery & Museum, Stirling

The World’s Oldest Football, 1540, found in Stirling Castle. © Smith Art Gallery & Museum, Stirling

Made from Cow hide with a Pigs bladder used to inflate the ball. Half the size of a modern football.The World's Oldest Football was made in Stirling and discovered behind the paneling of the Queen's Chamber in Stirling Castle, which was decorated in the 1540's. Mary Queen of Scots was there at this time and later in life was known to have an interest in all sports but especially golf and football. She recorded a game of football in her diaries while at Carlisle Castle. The ball could have been used in the courtyards within the castle or taken to the royal gardens below the walls. Everyone from the castle, including kings and queens would have been involved. Football was a game for all just as it is today. Was this personal item, belonging to Mary, deliberately placed behind the paneling to act as a protection from witchcraft, a practice common at the time or was it somehow lost. We will never answer that question but we do know that this little ball is the beginning of a sport that now involves a sixth of the population of the world.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 09:50 on 17 August 2010, iain clark wrote:

    I wonder how the world cup stars of today would get on with one of these!

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Location
Culture
Period

1540

Theme
Size
H:
15cm
W:
15cm
D:
15cm
Colour
Material

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