Monday, 28 January 2008
It was suggested by the Western Isles MP that the famous Lewis Chessmen should be returned to this island. This was rejected by the UK culture minister, who referred to the idea as nonsensical, alongside with a gibe at the Scottish Government.
The Lewis Chessmen were discovered in the sands of Uig Bay in the 19th century. They had been carved by visiting Vikings some 850 years ago, and left there for safekeeping. The Chessmen, now reproduced on a larger scale (like the one shown above at Ardroil) are thought to have been brought over from Norway.
It is a pity this idea has foundered in a sea of party-political bickering. Although the figurines do not originate here, they have been here a long time and were found in Lewis. An idea might be to keep a handful of the Chessmen in Western Isles Museum, to acknowledge their final provenance. But I somehow don't think that will happen.