A 65-year-old woman presented with a 3 month history of right eye discomfort and protrusion. Examination revealed right proptosis with hypoglobus and diplopia in extremes of upgaze. Computed tomographic scanning revealed a large extraconal mass in the superotemporal orbit. The mass was excised through an extended superior skin crease incision. Histopathology revealed a benign tumour of Schwann cell origin showing advanced cystic degeneration, the so-called ‘ancient schwannoma’. The authors could find only two previously reported cases of such tumours arising in the orbit.