Fulham Palace Giant Chess on the Lawn
Fulham Palace has a new addition on the lawn – a giant chess board! And all visitors are welcome to come and play a game.
Why have chess at Fulham Palace?
First arriving in England around 1000 years ago, the game of chess quickly became a popular pastime. Elizabeth I, who visited Fulham Palace in 1558 and twice in 1600-01, was a player of chess, and the game would also have been played by the Bishops of London.
Bishops in chess
Since the 12th century, there has been a bishop in chess, which is as a tactical, diagonal moving piece. Though the name ‘bishop’ first entered the English language in the 16th century, the 12th century Lewis Chessmen portray the bishop piece as an ecclesiastical figure. In Britain, the piece was named ‘bishop’ because the top of the piece resembled a bishop’s mitre. Given the importance of bishops in everyday life – they were a key part of the political, economic and, of course, religious life of the country – and that they were closely linked to the monarchy and nobility, it is perhaps not surprising that they appear in chess along with pieces such as kings, queens and knights.
In terms of bishops and Fulham Palace, the important religious and political status of the Bishop of London who lived here is reinforced by the many important visitors who came to this site. This is in addition to the bishop serving as a member of the House of Lords and having the ability to vote.
Fulham Palace, in partnership with Chess in Schools and Communities U.K., are planning to offer Saturday chess lessons in the near future once funding is secured. For more information on Chess in Schools and Communities U.K., please click here.
For rules on how to play chess, we recommend the following sites: