The last time we were in Edinburgh, Scotland, Rob’s elder brother convinced us to visit Rosslyn Chapel which is outside the city in the middle of nowhere. Despite the professor’s copious instructions we got lost, and ended up at Roslin Castle which is best described as a romantic ruin. When he heard about it later he treated us like a bunch of rebellious students who refused to listen.
The locals living near Roslin Castle were helpful as Scots usually are, and soon had us on our way to the nearby church built on a low hill by the 1st Earl of Caithness in 1466. Modern builders were busy repairing the roof when we arrived, although I airbrushed out the scaffolding as much as possible. The picture below is a good example of waited for us inside.
The Earl of Caithness died shortly after the choir was built, although extensive foundations indicate the collegiate church would have been much bigger had he lived for longer. For the next forty years a variety of stonemasons fiddled with the project, with the result that the fourteen columns are all different.
Other Rosslyn chapel mysteries include 213 ‘stone boxes’ protruding from the walls, and 110 carvings of goblins almost everywhere. The locals call them ‘green men’ because they have plants growing out of their mouths. A guide told us that the staircase spiralling down into the burial crypt beneath the chapel floor had been walled up for centuries.
Tradition has it Rosslyn Chapel’s burial chamber contains the Holy Grail, the Treasure of the Knights Templar, and the original Crown Jewels of Scotland all looted from Solomon’s Temple, although nobody has dared to look for fear of curses. This was so spooky it had spiders crawling down our spines. We went outside to admire the pinnacles on the roof which were crumbling, because jackdaw birds had been nesting undisturbed for centuries in hollows the stone masons left for bees to build their hives.
Even Stranger Things
We visited a nice new visitor centre where we learned the Knights Templar were Crusaders who retreated from Jerusalem to France, and then, so the legend goes to Roslin where they tried to build a replica of Solomon’s Temple. We found scrape marks on the walls a cellar that were even more mysterious, as they reminded us of symbols belonging to all kinds of religions.
Should you explore the Rosslyn Chapel Mysteries, too?
I would say yes, provided you are interested in ancient history. Located just outside Edinburgh, if you pick up a rental car at Edinburgh Airport, it is only a short drive. Followers of modern theories already know about Dan Browne’s The Da Vinci Code and Michael Baigent’s Holy Blood, Holy Grail. We left a bit unsure about what was true and what was not. To add to the enigma the first Grandmaster of The Grand Lodge of Scotland was born in Roslin village a stone’s throw away. Before you ask, we did not venture down the crypt stairs as far as the blocked entrance. Who knows what waits beyond?