English Sets

Early history of chess in Britain 
Chess is said to be introduced into England from Scandinavia during Athlestan’s reign, 925-940 (Source: Keats). In medieval times, chess motifs appeared in coats and arms and in mottoes. The first literary reference to the game is the poem “De Shaki Ludo’ of 1150. 
The chessmen in the British Museum and the Museum of Scotland came from the Isle of Lewis in the Hebrides, mainly considered to be of the 12th century, are suspected by many to came from a  much later period. 
It seems that during medieval times, chess games were taken were seriously. For instance, legend has it that the Anglo-Viking King Canute played chess with a Danish Earl on St Michael’s Eve in 1027. Canute apparently made a bad move which he wanted to take back, and, when the Danish Earl objected, Canute promptly murdered him.
In the 12th century, the Church objected to chess as it was often played for money. Directives issued to the Order of the Knights Templar by St Bernard forbade them to play chess. It seems, however, that exceptions existed. Written records exist that King Richard I., known as Coeur de Lion, played chess aboard a ship during a crusading voyage in 1190-1191. It is also known that during King John reign (1199-1216), who succeeded Richard I., written records of the game were made.