Positive Noises Over Chessmen Return

It has been reported that talks on the possible return to the Western Isles of at least some of the Lewis Chessmen have been positive.

The intricately carved figures were found buried on Lewis in 1831. The artefacts recovered are presently divided, with 82 being housed in the British Museum and 11 in the National Museum of Scotland.

Some years ago the Scottish government expressed a desire that the full collection should be reunited in Scotland and shortly afterwards the idea of a specialised display at a centre in the Western Isles gained support.

Previous UK government Culture Secretaries have opposed any idea of a permanent return of the collection to Scotland and the recent reports (if true) would suggest a softening of this previous intractable stance.

A return of part or all the Chessmen and associated artefacts to Scotland would be a tremendous coup for the Scottish government.

Similar moves by the Manx authorities to open talks on the possible return to the Isle of Man of the ancient manuscript, “The Chronicle of the Kings of Man and the Isles” were rejected by the British Library that holds the document which was removed from the Isle of Man in questionable circumstances.

Unlike the Scottish government the Manx government `fell at the first hurdle’ and failed to pursue the matter.

Wikipedia Links for Chessmen and Chronicles below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_chessmen
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronicles_of_Mann

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

15/06/10

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