Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel is one of the most famous chapels in the world because of the mega-bestselling novel and movie The Davinci Code. I was fortunate to get to visit this amazing site last Sept. My friends and I were staying three days in Edinburgh. We took public transportation the seven and a half miles south of the city and got off at the village of Roslin. (Yes, the spelling is different. LOL) It started out as a cloudy day which threatened rain (not uncommon for Scotland.) Then a light mist started to fall. Here are a few pics of the beautiful village.

Roslin, Scotland

I always see a lot of gorgeous flowers in Scotland

The Original Rosslyn Inn including the Grail, Grill & Restaurant

After getting off the bus at Roslin, it was a short, easy walk down to the chapel itself.

Rosslyn Chapel (officially the Collegiate Chapel of St. Matthew) was founded in 1446 by William Sinclair, the first Earl of Caithness as a place of worship, and the construction of it was started a few years after this date.

‘It came into his mind to build a house for God’s service, of most curious work, the which that it might be done with greater glory and splendour, he caused artificers to be brought from other regions and foreign kingdoms and caused daily to be abundance of all kinds of workmen present as masons, carpenters, smiths, barrowmen and quarriers…..’
Father Hay, author of A Genealogie of the Saintclaires of Rosslyn

After the Scottish Reformation in 1560, Catholic worship at the chapel was no longer happening but the Sinclair family continued in the Roman Catholic faith until the 1700s. From the 1500s until 1861 the chapel was closed to public worship. When it was opened again it became a Scottish Episcopal Church of the Anglican Communion. Services are still held there weekly.

 The chapel has been the center of theories about the Knights Templar, the Holy Grail and Freemasonry because of who had it built and the many fascinating symbols carved into the building. For this reason, of course, it was featured in the 2003 bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code and the 2006 movie. Since then, tourism to the chapel has increased by leaps and bounds. The income from the additional visitors has allowed the chapel to be conserved and improved, which it was in bad need of. For a time, it was almost in ruins.

 The chapel is still privately owned and in the St. Clair family. The current owner is Peter St Clair-Erskine, 7th Earl of Rosslyn.

 As you can see from the above picture and the rain drop on the lens, the rain came down a little harder at this point. We went inside the chapel to explore and read about the many features and beautiful details for an hour or more. Also a guide gave a sort of history lecture, teaching us all about the chapel. We were not allowed to take any photos inside, which is hard for a photo bug like me to deal with. LOL Especially since the inside is even more intricate and detailed than the outside with many symbols and hidden meanings. One of the most famous parts of the interior is the Apprentice's Pillar. You can look it up online and see how beautiful it is and also read the legend of it's creator. Carved into the architecture joining the pillar is this quote: 

Forte est vinum fortior est rex fortiores sunt mulieres super omnia vincit veritas: "Wine is strong, a king is stronger, women are stronger still, but truth conquers all" (1 Esdras, chapters 3 & 4).

After the rain diminished a bit, I went back outside for more photos of the interesting exterior.

 The building was originally intended to be cruciform in shape but it was never completed. What you see here now is only a small portion of the original architectural plan, just the top of the cross shape. The intended foundation of the rest of the building was found. I took the above photo outside and, as you can see, it appears to be only a partially completed building, as if a wall or something is missing. Unfortunately, William Sinclair died before construction of the chapel was completed and soon funds and interest in its completion waned.

If you're ever visiting Edinburgh, I hope you'll go south a few miles and visit Rosslyn Chapel. It's a special place.

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Gwyn Brodie said...

Great post, Vonda! I loved it there!

Carly Carson said...

Great pictures. Now I want to see the inside of the chapel!

Annie Kelly said...

Hello Vonda.
Great photos, as usual. Keep them coming. :)
Annie (aka Kelly Ann Scott)

Lane McFarland said...

What a wonderful post! I will be in Edinburgh in about four weeks and will definitely make a trip to Roslin. Thank you for the great information and best wishes on your new releases!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thank you, Gwyn, Carly, Annie and Lane!! Yes, Carly, you should definitely check out the inside. It's even more beautiful than the outside. You will love it, Lane!