Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland

(no photography allowed inside)

and part of Ed Mooney’s History Challenge

Along with the standing stones and stone circles that mark the Gaelic landscape in Scotland, another place of great mystery is Rosslyn Chapel. As anyone who has read “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” or “The DaVinci Code” knows, the chapel supposedly contains many secrets and treasures hidden by the Knights Templar (or their successors)  in secret passageways. The most precious of these was said to be the holy cup of the Last Supper. It isn’t too far from Edinburgh by the Midlothian city bus, and although I’ve visited before, my excitement still mounts when I see the signpost announcing Roslin village ahead and knowing that Rosslyn Chapel is nearby.

The Gael


Rosschurch

The church was built by William Sinclair, a son of the Earl of Orkney, in the 1400s.  The Sinclairs original name was St.Clair revealing the Norman connection to the family. William who was considered a ne’er do well by his father was never a Knight Templar. The knights had been dishonoured and disbanded by Pope Clement long before (in 1312). William’s great grandfather Henry, is “reputed” to have been a member of the order and is thought to be buried in one of the crypts under the chapel.   A prior William Sinclair, Henry’s son, is also buried there. He was killed in a battle in Spain while attempting  to bring the heart of Robert The Bruce to the Holy land for burial.*

st catherine wheel
St.Catherine’s Wheel

The Chapel’s facade and interior are fantastically and ornately carved with strange symbols and sculptures that are said to contain secret meanings, maps and messages. One of these sculptures is of Saint Catherine’s Wheel.  Saint Catherine was the patron saint of the Sinclairs but many believe the carving to be representative of the Rose of the Knights Templar.   As one custodian of the chapel said,  “all  stories and conjectures usually conclude with the phrase it is almost certain” – which really means of course that it is not certain at all!

Nevertheless the chapel has long been associated with both the ancient Templars and the Freemasons of today which has  fueled the secret society theories such as that of  the Prieuré de Sion which has proved to be one of the great hoaxes of the 20th century (mentioned by both Michael Baigent of Holy Blood, Holy Grail and Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code).

The Knights Templar  themselves had a long, controversial and colourful history. Though they began in the spiritual idealism of the early Crusades, in time they amassed great wealth in the Holy Land and became known for their excesses. To drink like a Templar was an adage of the day.  They were eventually accused of heresy and sorcery by the church. Their order ended in dissolution and disgrace with the burning at the stake of their leader and Grand Master, Jacques de Molay in Paris.  It is said he died defiant, condemning both the pope and the church!

To date no treasures or secret passageways have been found – and the Holy Grail remains a mystical ideal, but the chapel endures as a fascinating and mysterious place- and a most intriguing tale!!

Photography is not allowed inside the chapel but down in the lower sacristy leading to the crypt  a kind custodian turned his back to let me quickly snap one.

*Sir James Douglas one of the knightly companions and long time friend to The Bruce apparently wore the heart in a case around his neck but he was also killed in the battle in southern Spain. (Added Jan, 2017)

 

70 Comments Add yours

  1. pattimoed says:

    Lovely, lovely post, Cybele. I love the moodiness of your photos and the mystery!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so happy you enjoyed it Patti!! I’m not sure if you have read any of my short stories but I invite you to do so at your leisure!! Thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pattimoed says:

        I will do that, Cybele. I enjoy your writing very much.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. restlessjo says:

    Makes me want to hop a bus up there right now! There’s definitely something fascinating about the Templars and this place looks magnificent. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh yes!! and you are able to do that!! lucky!! I’m west coast Canada though I do head over there when I can! ( I have cousins).

      Like

      1. restlessjo says:

        I always wanted to see Vancouver. Much less chance of that, for me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The west coast is breathtaking nature!! So is all of BC actually. It has everything, mountains, semi arid wine country, valleys and ocean etc. Still all very wild!!

        Like

      3. restlessjo says:

        Just too much world! I should have been a nomad 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. PS I have a couple posts on BC you may like!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. DG MARYOGA says:

    A gem in the heart of Scotland interwoven with history,legends and many cryptic symbols!The gargoyle from above imposingly receives and predisposes the visitors of what is going to follow.Shall I praise your captivating accounts or your fabulous photos,dear Cybele ?Extraordinary facades with most elaborate and Bas-relief work.Crypt 2 is most appealing and magically lit …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it really is most unusual, gothic etc but the inside chapel is quite bright -but everywhere are sculptured reliefs etc. except in the crypts which are simple and restful ( if you know what I mean lol) You can never take it all in in one visit- maybe a hundred lol!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. DG MARYOGA says:

        Yes,I am with you Cybele Dear,and each time you visit,you notice more and more.It’s the same as a good book,which you read and reread and each time you discover and take in more points.I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed the Celtic music.If you play it while marvelling at the fascinating photos,you “travel”to an extra dimension.Thank you for that,my friernd:)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. yes I like that!! another dimension and always sacred! Never lose the awe!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. jazzfeathers says:

    Visiting from Ed’s blog.
    I really really love your photos, and this is certainly a fantastic place, full of history and stories. My favourite kind of place 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Jazz- please come back and visit anytime!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anita says:

    It’s something else to see a place that one reads about in a fiction novel! 🙂 Beautiful pictures as always, Cybele — they do have a sense of mystery to them! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree!! Thanks Anita!

      Like

  6. Great images and interesting history – truly magical! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. one of those kind of places for sure Indah!! Thank you!

      Like

  7. Reblogged this on the runes of the gatekeeper's daughter and commented:

    for Ed’s wonderful history challenge I am resurrecting an old post I did on a fascinating subject. Many of you already have seen this post but for those that haven’t I hope you find it as interesting as I do.

    gargoyle spoutsmall

    Like

  8. aishasoasis says:

    I love these photos and the great history you provided here, Cybele! The knights Templar pop up in my Saladin posts, too! Sorry it’s been a busy time, but I’m finally getting out for visits today!♥♥♥;^)

    Like

    1. thanks so much Aisha, from one history lover to another!!! No worries when you are busy!! Always happy when you visit my friend!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. These are magical images Cybele, I particularly love that one of the window with the candles, I can feel the atmosphere.

    Like

    1. Thanks for coming by Andrea. I’m always happy to hear from you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post, beautiful atmospheric photos. I’m so glad I found your post, Rosslyn Chapel is on my bucket list!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much Meadows!! Yes you must put it on your list.

      Like

  11. Peter Nena says:

    Great images full of wonder, mystery, majesty.

    Like

  12. Amy says:

    Fascinating! Love the last one, especially!

    Like

  13. Roy McCarthy says:

    Fascinating piece of Scottish lore that Cybele! I never heard tell of Rosslyn Chapel. Or of the origin of the Sinclair name which I’ll now go around telling people like a learned scholar 🙂

    Like

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed my post!! It’s a wonderful place with a very intriguing history!! Thanks for your compliment!!

      Like

  14. Gil Zetbase says:

    Great post and fantastic photos!
    Have a nice day!
    Photographer Gil Zetbase
    http://www.gilzetbase.com/

    Like

    1. much appreciated Gil!! Thank you for your visit!!

      Like

  15. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

    Whoa! These images are awesome!

    Like

  16. Fantastic photos Cybele, and great architecture!

    Like

  17. I too liked reading the history. Your images capture the mystery, and intrigue brilliantly. Scotland is on my Bucket List. I hope I am able to cross it off one day.

    Like

    1. so glad you enjoyed the read!! and thank you for your lovely comment!! Yes put it high on the list!!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    there is magic in your lens 😉 well researched post too as background for this enthrallingly mysterious chapel.

    Like

  19. Cybele, that’s a most interesting history lesson. And, yes, I read Dan Brown’s novel. I was only thinking this morning about some of the persecution and atrocities carried out in the name of religion in the past, and it seems it never ends.

    Like

    1. indeed Sarah!! I’m glad you liked the post!

      Like

  20. joshi daniel says:

    the effects go so well with the chapel 🙂

    Like

  21. Tim Shey says:

    The History Channel did a program on the Knights Templar. They think they made it across the Atlantic and made it to Minnesota in the United States.

    Like

    1. I’d like to see it. So much has been speculated about the Knights Templar but I must confess I have a bit of a cynical streak which causes me to research before accepting something. However even with that, so much is lost in history. I certainly do not subscribe to all the conspiracy theories that abound either like the Prieure de Sion and all other secret societies included that claim to possess true knowledge, though it does make for a good tale!!

      Like

  22. What amazing photos and history. I bet there are hidden passageways! It just looks like “that” kind of place! I have this love/hate thing with gargoyles. I’ve only seen them in pictures and TV/movies. They freak me out, yet they’re so fascinating. Who dreamed up this stuff?! Great post, Cybele! Take your time and rest up — we’ll all still be here waiting! 😀 Hugs!

    Like

    1. I would love to find those secret caves and passageways!! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments Linda!!

      Like

      1. I’ll call ya when I get ready to go over there and we’ll start digging! 😆

        Like

      2. We’d have to start digging from an outside field as they wouldn’t let us near the place with shovels in our hands!! The chapel inside also is built with very soft stone (limestone) and has had extensive work to keep it from collapsing especially with the dampness of the weather!! What we need is more technological instruments to detect underground caverns! 😀

        Like

      3. Sounds like a plan! 😆

        Like

  23. Maria F. says:

    Great work on the clouds, I love the colours!

    Like

    1. thank you Maria- I love stormy clouds!!

      Like

  24. Rest up! Beautiful images – I love the sky in the last one 🙂

    Like

    1. Infra red rules!!! Thanks Lisa!!!

      Like

  25. Ann says:

    I enjoyed the historical and legendary background almost as much as the photos! So, I’m just dying to ask: do you use some spell or incantation to call in those gorgeous, moody clouds?

    Like

    1. thanks so much Ann. I do love history too!! And I love your comment about cloud spells!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. A fascinating history indeed, Cybele, and the photos are Goth and beautiful. Love them!

    Like

    1. Thanks Debbie. It is fascinating. And Gothic!!! 🙂

      Like

  27. Suzanne says:

    That was a fascinating read – I love your moody photographs and your concise history of the Knights Templar. Thank you. 🙂

    Like

    1. It’s funny isn’t it ! I’m very matter of fact in my historical posts!! And then I fly off with the fairies !! lol!!

      Like

    2. oh and thanks!!! I’m pleased you like it!!!

      Like

  28. Beautiful images here Cybele!

    Like

    1. that means a lot!! thanks Robert!

      Like

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