For many years I have wanted to visit Rosslyn Chapel and, in December 2014, during a castle tour, I was lucky to be able to fit a visit into the itinerary.
I have to say I was not disappointed; I only wish we could have stayed longer!
I always feel a sense of calm when I walk into a church or cathedral, an instant relaxation of my mind. Whether this is created from the atmosphere of the churches or a religious calming of self-created meditation, I am not sure, but again as I entered the chapel, the atmosphere allowed me instantly to settle comfortably into peace and tranquillity.
This was however shared with a sense of wonder at Rosslyn. Everywhere you looked there were intricate carvings, which never ceased to amaze; there are so many carvings, covering every inch of the chapel that you could spend the whole day there and still not see everything.
There are many mysteries and myths surrounding the chapel, which draw visitors from all over the world, for both the chapel and the family who own the chapel, however if you pop these to the back of your mind for the visit, you cannot fail to be impressed by the chapel, the carvings and the atmosphere which draws you in.
There are over 100 'Green Man' carvings, historically a pagan figure, linking growth and fertility with nature and mankind.
The most elaborately decorated pillar in the chapel is known as the 'apprentice' pillar. An apprentice mason is said to have carved the pillar in his master's absence. On seeing the magnificent masonry, the master mason flew into a rage, struck the apprentice, killing him outright. Carvings representing the apprentice, his master and the apprentice's crying mother are carved into the ceilings.
Lintels on the south side of the chapel depict the seven deadly sins and the seven virtues. Look closely and you will see that greed is depicted amongst the virtues and charity is shown in the sins. Did the mason make a mistake, or were the two deliberately switched as a reminder of the potential for good within evil, and evil within good?
The chapel was originally meant to be much much larger and the completed chapel took 40 years to complete. On the death of its founder, William St Clair, building ceased, leaving the chapel as it is today. The chapel ceased to be used as a house of prayer and subsequently fell into disrepair, but was subsequently restored to its former glory by the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, helped by the interest generated by the publication of the 'Da Vinci Code' by 'DanBrown', and the speculation behind the Rosslyn mysteries.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the chapel and would highly recommend this to anyone visiting Edinburgh as one of the must-see visitor attractions.
Below are some great properties in Edinburgh that you could stay in to allow a visit to Rosslyn Chapel.