The World’s Oldest Football


Discovered lodged between the rafters of the Queen’s Chamber in Stirling Castle, the world’s oldest surviving football, was made around 1540, from a pig’s bladder and a leather skin. The ball is about half the size of a modern day football.

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.

There is much speculation on how the ball got stuck between the rafters in the Queen’s bedroom.

It is now held by the Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Stirling.


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