Not Even From Lewis, Mate

chandlerg05pic1.jpg ‘But it is evident, that to serve some purpose, contradictory statements were circulated by the persons who discovered or who afterwards obtained possession of these Chess-men, regarding the place where the discovery was actually made,’ state the minutes of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland for 11 March 1833, expressing their doubts that the eleven Lewis chessmen they are considering buying may not have come from the Isle of Lewis and were possibly obtained by illegal means.

First, here’s the accepted theory about the Lewis chessmen.

At an unknown date, an unknown ship is sheltering from a storm in a bay on the Isle of Lewis. Onboard, an unknown cabin boy seizes his chance to escape from the ship, sneaks into the Captain’s cabin, steals a sack containing 128 carved walrus pieces (four chess sets) and swims ashore. The boy is spotted by an unknown person, who, unaccountably, murders him. The murderer disposes of the body in an unknown grave, buries the bag of pieces in an unknown location and leaves. He goes to Stornoway and whilst awaiting execution for an unknown crime confesses to killing the cabin boy. One day a herdsman’s cow sticks its head into a sandbank and pulls out 92 of the chess pieces. The herdsman sells the find to a Captain Pyrie, who takes it to Edinburgh and sells it to a Mr Forrest. Forrest sells 82 of the pieces to the British Museum (BM); the remaining eleven pieces, he sells to a Mr Sharpe, who later sells them to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. (SAS).

The discovery of the pieces is a fantastically romantic tale, until you start looking for the facts.

What about the unnamed cabin boy who swims to shore from the ship with no name. Apparently he is a very strong swimmer – swimming with four walrus ivory chess sets in a sack is quite a feat. When you raise this point the storyteller is likely to add that he made two or three trips.

The unnamed murderer, the (as yet) undiscovered body, the gallows confession, the herdsman whose name is given in some sources as Malcolm Macleod, and finally Captain Pyrie, of whom nobody can find any trace – there is simply not a shred of evidence to suggest that any of the above is true. No signed statements, no reports, no provenance and no exact location. But because the theory cannot be disproved, it is taken as fact.

The only facts are Forrest, Sharpe and the purchases made by the BM and the SAS.

But before we look deeper into the find and how the BM and SAS obtained these pieces, it might be helpful if I supply a brief history of chess in Scotland in the 1820s – and why a chess set suddenly appeared at this time.

The very first sporting event between England and Scotland was a chess match. From 1823-28, the Edinburgh Chess Club were engaged in playing the London Chess Club at correspondence chess. Well, to be more exact, stagecoach chess. The moves were written on a pieces of paper, envelopes sealed, and then taken back and forth between Edinburgh and London by stagecoach. The Edinburgh Chess Club still has the complete set of its letters from the London Club.

Although officially it was Edinburgh CC v London CC, the newspapers of the day, The Scotsman included, were calling it the Scotland v England Chess Match and giving regular reports of its progress. Scotland won the match and to this day the opening used by Edinburgh to defeat London in the deciding game is called The Scotch Game.

So, chess was big news in Edinburgh in 1828. How fortunate that between 1829 and 1831 (dates differ according to different sources) a cow stuck a horn into a sandbank on the Isle of Lewis and pulled out a chess set.

Let us now look at how the BM and SAS came to own these pieces. Mr Forrest, an Edinburgh dealer with a very dodgy CV, has this bag of white carved pieces that he bought from a Norwegian sailor in Leith Docks: this cannot be disproved, so, by the same criteria as the Isle of Lewis theory, must be fact. Nobody will ever know how Forrest obtained the pieces but the story of them being found on Lewis holds no water and was even in doubt back in 1833, when the Antiquaries wrote their minutes.

I can embellish as well as the next man – and if you want a more fanciful tale, then let me remind you that Edinburgh in the 1820s was rife with grave robbers. Not Burke and Hare, they never robbed a grave in their miserable lives. I’m talking about real grave robbers, who not only dug up dead bodies and sold them to doctors but also looted graves hundreds of years old looking for treasure.

Why not have a more enterprising band of these fiends rowing out to one of the many islands in the Forth and looting one of the Viking graves? It’s just as feasible as murdered cabin boys, condemned men’s confession and straying cows.

Let us return to Forrest and his bag of carved pieces. He meets up with his friend Mr Sharpe and together, using a little imagination and some beetroot juice, they turn 32 of the pieces into a chess set. You may think I’m treating Sharpe unkindly by implying he was involved in the scam, but it was he who took the incredible three-day journey (you will learn more of this later and you can decide if he was a villain or a patsy).

Together Forrest and Sharpe hatch up the Isle of Lewis tale and this gets better and better with many changes and additions at each re-telling. To date there are six myths in circulation as to the discovery of the Lewis pieces. I have no proof whatsoever that Forrest and Sharpe colluded in a fraud. But I can present the evidence to suggest it.

Forrest takes the chess set to the SAS and they ask questions. The SAS had every right to be cautious. A few years before they dismissed a similar find supposed to have been dug up in Roxburgh and belonging to Bonnie Prince Charlie (a look at their minutes will confirm this). Did Forrest try to dupe them before with the very same pieces, claiming they were dug up in Roxburgh? He was certainly a dodgy character (later, in 1851, he was charged with acting in a dishonest manner at an auction of articles once owned by his dead friend Mr Sharpe.)

The SAS minutes are vague on the subject of the Roxburgh pieces but some members of the SAS were definitely anti-Forrest when he comes to him with his tale of buying the figures from a Captain Pyrie and says a cow found the hoard. (The murdered cabin boy crops up first in later versions of the story.)

The SAS members dither and discuss.

Sir Frederic Madden of the BM hears about the find and approaches Forrest. ‘I’ll take the lot,’ says he, and a deal is done. £84.00 exchanges hands and the 83 of the pieces go to London. Upon examining them, Sir Frederic discovers that the pieces are all white, ‘

…though some appear to have been recently dyed.’ He logs the purchase as possible chess pieces: Kings, Queens, Bishops, Knights, Pawns and Warders(?). He can find no Rooks.

Back in Edinburgh, the lucky Forrest finds more pieces – eleven in total – and in a master stroke, gets Sharpe to show ten of them to the SAS. Forrest uses Sharpe, because the SAS simply do not believe a word he says. One theory here is that Forrest sells the remaining ten pieces to Sharpe but I’m staying with the two of them being in cahoots. Why would Sharpe buy a ten-piece chess set?

No explanation is ever given to where the ten extra pieces came from, apart from claims that Forrest and Sharpe held some pieces back from the BM. Why?

If they were gained illegally, as is generally accepted, then why not get rid of the lot in one go?

I think the further eleven pieces came into their possession from the original source – a source that will never be known.

Sharpe shows the SAS the new pieces. A bit miffed at losing out to the BM but still unsure of the credibility of the tale, they require further proof. This is what Forrest and Sharpe had anticipated. ‘I’ll go to the Isle of Lewis and see if there are any more pieces,’ offers a very confident Mr Sharpe. He leaves Edinburgh, arrives in Lewis, finds the exact spot where the pieces were discovered, unearths another piece and returns to Edinburgh. All within three days! In 1833! An incredible feat!

Now the finding of the eleventh piece is well documented, though nobody seems to query the three-day Edinburgh to Lewis and back again journey, or how Sharpe discovered the actual location of the site – which has eluded everyone ever since. My guess is that Sharpe laid low in some hide-out and should have stayed there till a more believable period of time had passed, but was either on the verge of being discovered, or thought three days would suffice.

The SAS still had their doubts but purchased the now eleven pieces and entered a ‘save ass’ clause in their minutes. It is possible the SAS just let the Isle of Lewis story run unchecked so that they could purchase the pieces with a clear conscience. But it is also very clear from the minutes that they had severe doubts.

This is what the SAS bought and how they describe them: Three Queens, two large, one small; one of the large holds a drinking-cup. One Knight on horseback. Two Bishops. Two Kings. Two Knights, one biting his shield.

No mention of a Rook or pawns. The BM had all the pawns (tombstones).

chandlerg05pic3.jpg Back in London, things are looking a bit dodgy for Sir Frederick’s reputation, as his ‘possible chess pieces’ do not appear to have a Rook. So the BM, in an effort to construct a chess set out of the pieces, take one of the foot-soldiers, the figure biting his shield, and declare it to be a Rook. In the 12th century the Rook was the most powerful piece in chess. The BM has relegated it to the smallest piece on the board – a case of making the piece fit the theory.

There are Kings, Queens, Knights and Bishops. What else can they be, apart from chess pieces? Everybody agrees they were carved in the 12th century. We even know where they were carved: in a Norwegian village called Trondheim.

But the Bishop did not appear on a chessboard until the 15th century. I repeat: the Bishop was not introduced to the game of Chess until the 15th century. So whatever the Viking artist carved in Trondheim, it was not a chess set.

This one fact alone debunks the theory the Lewis pieces are chessmen.

Add to this, the fact that the pieces, before the ingenious Forrest and Sharpe intervened, were all white. It’s impossible to play chess with pieces all the same colour.

Another moot point. Where is the chessboard? The Celtic board currently given with the Lewis set is the fabric of some modern marketer’s imagination (a decedent of Mr Forrest, perhaps?).

So what are the ‘Lewis’ gaming pieces?

There exists a Viking game with many variations called Tafl or Hnefatafl, which is first recorded in 400 AD. It is played with pieces, and foot soldiers. Versions and line-ups vary on whatever saga the game is repeating. (We do the same today with computers games depicting famous battles.) Usually a game of Tafl or Hnefatafl has three or four different pieces.

Remember, four major pieces were found – Kings, Queen, Bishops and Knights – the BM turned a foot soldier into a Rook. For this Viking game, you do not need to have to have two different colours. When I was researching Hnefatafl, I one lad who has a site dedicated to Viking games was asked how to make the pieces for Hnefatafl. He answered, ‘Why bother… use the pieces from a couple of sets they laughingly call the Lewis Chessmen.’

I am totally convinced the ‘Lewis Chessmen’ are not chess pieces. The BM experts keep repeating, ‘they are chess pieces, they are chess pieces’ every time the pieces are mentioned on the television. They know there are doubts about their authenticity, especially amongt serious chess players.

chandlerg05pic3.jpg A spokesman for the BM stated in a recent interview with CHESS magazine remarked that he is often asked why the pieces are not displayed as a chess set on a chess board. (They are shown in their groups, Kings, Queens, Bishops, Knights and ‘Rooks’ – foot soldiers.) He added that, when set up on a board, the Lewis Chessmen do NOT look like chess pieces.

Why don’t they just admit they are wrong?

Let us now look again at the Isle of Lewis connection. There are six known myths surrounding the location of the discovery of the Lewis pieces. Despite visits to Lewis in search of it by chess historians, museum researchers, treasure seekers and the variegated curious, nobody can point to the location of discovery, nor give a shred to proof for any of the legends.

Ken Whyld, co-author of The Oxford Companion to Chess (widely acknowledged to be the best book on the subject), wrote in the British Chess Magazine of the exploits of Bob Meadley, an Australian chess enthusiast who spent days interviewing Lewis locals and researching archives, trying to find the facts. He states Bob was met with great reluctance to talk about the subject.

But why pick Lewis as the source of the find in the first place? Is it a coincidence that the most famous chess player in the 1830s was the chess author William Lewis (1787-1870). On top of all the other factors listed above, this coincidence makes me doubt even more that the pieces came from the Isle of Lewis. I say no – but the romantic in me wants to believe. It has been suggested that the real site of discovery on Lewis is known and that whoever holds the secret does not want a historic or religious site desecrated. I have my doubts but remain open-minded on that matter.

I’ve seen the pieces in the ‘flesh’. To me, they look slightly sinister with an impish glow. They appear to be smiling as if they know something we don’t. They have that kind of smug look a magician has before he pulls the rabbit out of the hat. Perhaps they’re saying, ‘We are not chess pieces and we did not come from the Isle of Lewis.’

Currently there is a big debate going on with various people demanding the pieces be returned to their rightful home.


I agree.

Send them back to Norway and then refund in full every tourist who has bought one of these ‘William Lewis Chess Sets’.

Illustrations: Hnefatafl board and pieces; and a(nother) Lewisian conversation.

©Geoff Chandler


35 Comments on "Not Even From Lewis, Mate"

  1. tiep smith on Sat, 17th Oct 2009 1:45 am 

    There are vastly more important matters in this brief life than spend valuable time on nonsensically arguing about centuries old chess pieces …… third world poverty for one, and masses more.

  2. Chas on Sat, 28th Nov 2009 4:16 pm 

    The “Lewis” find consisted 78 pieces of 8 kings, 8 queens, 16 bishops, 15 knights, 12 rooks(warders), and 19 pawns. That sounds a lot more like multiple incomplete chess sets than a “Tafl” game. Hnefatafl uses only a single king and “pawns” for both sides as attackers and defenders.

  3. Parakeetz on Thu, 24th Dec 2009 6:21 pm 

    n8aw maybe the rooks got lost, you dont have any proof they don’t exist

  4. Chas on Sat, 9th Jan 2010 7:22 pm 

    Well, being that it is one of the earliest know anthropomorphic chess sets, it would not be surprising if the artist decided to make the rooks in to soldiers. The author’s question “Where is the chessboard?” is irrelevant. Where is the board if it’s Hnefatafl?
    From what I have read he also may be mistaken about the bishop first appearing until the 15th cent. There seems to be evidence for the modern bishop shortly after 1200 C.E. in Courier Chess.

  5. Tychy on Tue, 8th Jun 2010 1:05 pm 

    the boards were made of wood so they just rotted away…? to be honest, i think the present NMS exhibition mentions that they might have been used in games other than chess.

  6. LoneWolf on Tue, 22nd Jun 2010 6:46 am 

    That’s pretty shoddy research work in the article. I don’t know the details of the findings themselves, but the theory of the article is full of holes.

    1. Like already mentioned, Hnefatafl uses a distinct board too, so the “where’s the chessboard?” question is moot.

    2. Like already mentioned again, Hnefatafl uses only a single King and similar Rook-like moving pieces for both sides. The diversity of Lewis pieces is clearly bigger then that.

    3. The “bishops did not appear before 15th century” statement is a misinterpretation of truth. The bishops did not acquire their current long-range diagonal move before 15th century, true, but that’s not the same as “they didn’t exist before”. 15th century changed the move of an existing piece, it didn’t introduce a new one. I repeat: chess of that time did have their Bishops, they only moved unlike their modern namesakes.

    BTW, the previous commenter made a slight mistake regarding the “Courier Chess”: the pieces with the move of modern Bishop there were called Couriers. Like the “usual chess” of that time period, Courier Chess had two Bishops who jumped one square diagonally.

    Also I need to comment on that gem:

    “The BM has relegated it to the smallest piece on the board – a case of making the piece fit the theory.”

    Are you aware that in many modern Staunton chess sets the Rooks are the smallest pieces on the board, despite them being the second powerful pieces in modern chess? Size is no guarantee of power!

  7. Geoff Chandler on Wed, 30th Jun 2010 10:34 am 

    The Bishop was not used as chess pieces till the 15th century.

    Caxton\’s Game of Chess (1478) calls them lawyers and they are depicted a triangle.

  8. Craig Cowing on Mon, 16th Aug 2010 2:57 am 

    Ok, so what if the warders were actually for Hnefataf and the rest of the pieces for chess? Or, could they have been used for both? I’m thinking of making a Hnefataf set using Lewis Island pieces for Hnefataf–the king and warders. Both games were in existence at this time, so would it be so unusual for pieces for both games to be found together?

    As for the bishop, your insistence that the bishop did not appear until the 15th century does not make it so. Yes, during the years prior to that the bishop was called be other names, but “bishop” was one of them.

    Your argument that these pieces were not at all for chess is based simply on your insistence that this is the case. It’s hardly convincing.

  9. Craig Cowing on Mon, 16th Aug 2010 3:05 am 

    One more thought–consider the rook in the so-called “Charlemagne” chess set. It’s not a tower, but a chariot. In a transitional time, wouldn’t a soldier make sense in a time when chariots were no longer used? Perhaps the use of the chariot in the Charlemagne set is a figural embodiment of the abstract idea of a chariot in the Islamic sets just as the elephants (bishops!) are an embodiment of the abstract idea of a bishop.

  10. LoneWolf on Tue, 26th Oct 2010 7:39 am 

    “Yes, during the years prior to that the bishop was called be other names, but ”bishop” was one of them.”

    That’s true. Besides, different languages have different names for the chess pieces even now.

    Regardless, there never were any Bishops in Hnefatafl.

    I also notice that the author didn’t respond to all other points.

  11. Pipistrel on Wed, 27th Oct 2010 10:14 am 

    If these were not chess pieces, how to explain that 8 kings, 8 queens and 16 bishops all amount to 4 chess sets? There are also 15 kinights (one missing) and 12 rooks (4 missing). There was confusion in medieval Europe about the roles of bishops, knights and rooks. In the Arab game the ‘bishop’ was ‘fil (elephant)’, from which French ‘fou (madman)’ and the rook was Arabic ‘rukk’, the meaning of which was a mystery even to Arabs, though it probably came ultimately from Sanskrit ‘ratha (chariot’), and some thought it was Sinbad the sailor’s giant bird. The rook, alternatively the bishop, became a camel in some versions of the game, and rooks became ships in Bengal and Russia. No argument based on the roles of the pieces can hold water.

  12. Pipistrel on Fri, 12th Nov 2010 5:55 pm 

    H J R Murray in his History of chess (p. 759) quotes a French writer La Peyrere describing Icelandic chess in 1664: ‘our madmen they call bishops…. their rooks are little captains which the Icelandic students here call centurions.

  13. Geoff Chandler on Fri, 29th Apr 2011 10:19 am 

    Just Because they found pieces that looked like Kings and Queens etc does not mean they were a chess set.

    Do you think Chess was the only board game ever played?

    Yes the piece we call the Bishop was part of the game but it was never depicted as a Bishop till the early 1500′s – this is a fact known to every chess player.

    The were no Rooks found, they made up the Rooks form the pieces they originally called ‘Warders’.

    The pieces are all white. Go and look at them, you cannot play chess with these pieces.

    I do wish home and casual chess players would not butt in with their two pence worth. It is obvious they know about the game.

    The ‘experts’ now at last agree that the pieces were most likely from another Viking board game.

  14. Geoff Chandler on Fri, 29th Apr 2011 10:21 am 

    Ha- missed out the “nothing.”

    I do wish home and casual chess players would not butt in with their two pence worth. It is obvious they know nothing about the game.

  15. Julian on Fri, 13th May 2011 10:27 am 

    Geoff, you are probably right. But it seems that history is written to fit the current conventional thinking that these were chessmen… if they were not chessmen back then they are are now. So called Authority sites like this one will of course press home to the masses that they were chessmen

  16. Craig Cowing on Tue, 7th Jun 2011 8:57 pm 

    Why do you even bother to post this online and allow for comments when it’s obvious you can’t handle anyone disagreeing with you?

  17. Geoff Chandler on Mon, 20th Jun 2011 2:51 am 

    It’s not my site. If they want to add a comments box it’s up to them.

    Where to begin.

    “Are you aware that in many modern Staunton chess sets the Rooks are the smallest pieces on the board, despite them being the second powerful pieces in modern chess? Size is no guarantee of power!”

    Are you aware that when Nathaniel Cook designed the Staunton pieces in the mid 1800′s he made the Rooks the current size they are today.
    Before then, and I have a pre Staunton wooden set ,the Rooks were the exact same size as the King and Queen,

    When the pieces were carved the Queen could only move one square at a time. The Spanish turned her into a Rook & Bishop combined in the 1500′s.

    “H J R Murray in his History of chess…”

    (Murray also mentions the doubt surrounding the Lewis ‘Chessmen’.)

    “quotes a French writer La Peyrere describing Icelandic chess in 1664: ”

    Correct 1664. 150 years after the Spanish gave the name Bishop to the chess piece. Thank You.

    “If these were not chess pieces, how to explain that 8 kings, 8 queens and 16 bishops all amount to 4 chess sets? There are also 15 kinights (one missing) and 12 rooks (4 missing).”

    and….19 pawns!

    You imply with 8 Kings and 8 Queens etc there were 4 chess sets (all white mind you, nobody has explained that one yet)
    so were are the missing 45 pawns?

    10 or 15 missing I could go with but not 45.

    They are not chess pieces and this is now accepted even by the museum.

    They have recently replaced the shield biting man with a stone tower in the Lewis Sets they sell – go an see for yourself.

    This Tower is a PR job to make it look more like a chess set.

    I’d still like to think they were found in Lewis but there is not one shred of evidence, except myth, that they were.

    Of course I can handle people disagreeing me, it’s part of the fun. But give me something I have not heard before.

    Very recently I have been in contact with an expert who can show a Bishop in another chess set. A 100% bona fide chess set
    from the 1300′s found in Poland.

    Also been shown that the Church forbad them to call it a Bishop, though it clearly is.

    So my Bishop theory is looking thin though the Lewis pieces were carved 100 years before the Polish set and ‘Polish Vikings’. I’ve not heard of.

    Still good to know my ramblings forced them to look again at all the pieces around the Europe and
    I’ve made contact with loads of new chess wise people and friends.

  18. Geoff Chandler on Mon, 20th Jun 2011 3:40 am 

    In case you cannot get along to see the newly carved rook.

    They are back to calling rooks wardens again.

  19. norman wood on Mon, 5th Sep 2011 11:15 am 

    The fact that they were all white as well as the large number of pieces and the fact that they do not seem to have been used all indicate that we are looking at a hoard that constituted a merchant’s stock. They are all white because that is the nature of the material from which they are carved – it is perfectly logical for these pieces to have been brought from Norway without having been made into sets so that customers could choose the pieces they wanted and have the “black” dyed at that stage. They may also have been destined for a middleman who again would have made them up into sets and dyed them.

  20. Ryan on Tue, 4th Oct 2011 3:59 am 

    Regarding the colours:

  21. DAVID ASTLEY on Sat, 31st Dec 2011 1:48 pm 

    I think we are in posesion of a KING found 40 years ago in woods

  22. DAVID ASTLEY on Sat, 31st Dec 2011 1:51 pm 

    I think we are in possesion of a KING found in woods in lancashire 40 years ago.

  23. DAVID ASTLEY on Sat, 31st Dec 2011 1:53 pm 

    I think we may have a KING found in woods in Lancashire 40 years ago.

  24. DAVID ASTLEY on Sat, 31st Dec 2011 5:28 pm 

    Hi i found a chess piece in woods in lancashire 40years ago and think it might be a lewis chessman piece it looks like a king. If you are interrested could you please contact me.

  25. Lone Wolf on Fri, 17th Feb 2012 6:38 am 

    “Before then, and I have a pre Staunton wooden set ,the Rooks were the exact same size as the King and Queen”

    Before then, there was a variety of chess designs. In some pre-Renaissance sets, like in this one from 12th century Iran

    the Rooks are slightly less in height then other pieces.

    And here’s an English late 18th century set::


    After the Renaissance chess reform with the powerful Queen, but still before the introduction of Staunton.

    The pawn argument is a good one, and after hearing it, I now agree that the “chess” interpretation is dubious. But you still have some strange argument for your position.

  26. Lone Wolf on Sat, 2nd Jun 2012 8:10 am 

    “Before then, and I have a pre Staunton wooden set ,the Rooks were the exact same size as the King and Queen”

    Pre Cook/Staunton, there was a variety of chess set designs. Some of them had tall Rooks, some of them had short Rooks.

    This link contains image of the famous Nishapur chess set from 12th century Iran. The Rooks are slightly shorter then other pieces. You wouldn’t realize just by looking at the set that the Rook is the most powerful piece in the game.

    And there is a variety of 17-18th century designs in which the rook is lower then other pieces, like the Regency 18th century pre-Staunton design.

    And a chess set from 18th century Northern Russia:

    The usual retort to the pieces being all white is that the pieces were differentiated by their “face turn”.

    I actually think that the pawn argument is a good one for your position, and that the “face turn” argument is far from completely convincing.

    However, you really need to stop proclaiming erroneous facts like “It was Cook who first introduced the short Rook”.

    Furthermore, where did you get the information that the Bishop got its name in 1500′s? Your information was clearl wrong.

    And Rooks are weird chess pieces. Would you proclaim that set from Northern Russia

    Is not chess, because there’re no Rooks there, only Ships? Yet in Russian, the chess Rook is actually called a Ship.

    In your previous post, you’ve listed some good arguments for your position. Yet some of your other arguments are still strange and wrong.

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  30. Geoff Chand;er on Fri, 6th Jun 2014 1:51 pm 

    Forgot all about this comments box. The Edinburgh Museum now call these pieces the ‘Lewis Gaming Pieces’ and display them along with a Viking Board Game.

    I’ve said all along they were not chess pieces and have now been proved corredt.and I still say there is no evidence they came from the Isle of Lewis.

  31. Craig Cowing on Sun, 8th Jun 2014 3:21 am 

    Just because the museum in Edinburgh has labelled them game pieces instead of chess men doesn’t mean you have been proved correct. If all you’re looking for is validation, which I suspect is the case, you’ve got a long way to go.

  32. My2P on Wed, 20th Jan 2016 4:08 am 

    Maybe the game was played in 8 rounds. 1 player using the Kings when they play the center, the other player using the queens when they played the center?

  33. Newsletter Blast from the Past: Isle of Lewis “Chessmen” Revisited – Celtic History on Mon, 16th Jul 2018 11:59 am 

    […] I discovered was by Scottish Chess writer Geoff Chandler who suggests that there was some form of conspiracy surrounding the “discovery” of the Lewis pieces. He shows that they were “discovered” during a period when Chess was a topic in […]

  34. bob Meadley on Tue, 21st Aug 2018 8:20 am 

    I’m a bit slow down under. It’s because my head is upside down. I did send a video to Ken Whyld of my 1990 research in the ‘church bull’s paddock’ near Ardroil under the guidance of dear Mrs Matheison.She would be gone now but had a brother in Chatswood Sydney.I like the article and it raises the big question as to why the British Museum never try to rebut H.J.R. Murray’s later views that the Lewis men are not as old as claimed. Could it be the older the men the more sets they sell?
    Radio-carbon dating would prove it. Bob Meadley

  35. GM on Mon, 3rd Aug 2020 8:33 am 

    As far as I remember there is a very similar piece existing in Ireland. It was part of a hoard found in Clonard, Meath in 1817, the rest of which are now lost(or are they?) Perhaps the Lewis pieces are really the Clonard find?

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