In recent years, the novel and film 'The Da Vinci Code' have catapulted this church into the limelight, being of great importance to the story. The building was used to film the scenes set in Rosslyn Chapel. Its mystery is centred around many monastic and pagan carvings and symbols which appear throughout the church, along with the traditional religious ones.
Building began on the Rosslyn Chapel in 1446 by William St Clair. He died before the church was finished and building stopped. It is thought that a much grander building had been originally planned. In 1630, William Sinclair is given the charters from the masons of Scotland. This shows that there is a link between the masons and the St Clairs. In the Da Vinci Code it is hypothesised that the St Clairs are descendants of Christ, and are protected by the masons.
Inside Rosslyn Chapel visitors can see the carving of the upside down Lucifer, the fallen angel. This symbol is significant in Freemason rites. Other possible Freemason links include the carving of a crouching angel, and numerous carved cubes.
The Apprentice Pillar is probably the best known feature of the chapel. This intricately carved pillar was said to have been completed by a mason's apprentice, having been inspired by a dream. When his master returned he struck the young apprentice out of jealousy, and killed him. The pillar is the most decorated pillar in the church.
Other points of interest include the dedication outside the chapel, dating from 1450, an architect or mason's plan for the building drawn on a wall, and a death mask carving said to be or Robert the Bruce.
Rosslyn Chapel provides guided tours and has toilets, disabled toilets and baby change facilities on site. The gift shop sells gifts and souvenirs of the chapel. Disabled visitors can access the ground floor of the chapel, but will not be able to visit the crypt which is down a flight of steps. A wheelchair is available for free loan.
Visitors can reach Rosslyn Chapel by car or bus. Contact the chapel for full and up to date travel information.
Rosslyn Chapel Trust,
Tel:0131 440 2159