Rosslyn Chapel Mystery

The Mystery

It is where the modern Knights Templar and the Freemasons meet, where researchers pour over every Rosslyn Chapelcarving and niche, and where tourists flock to stand in awe before this extraordinary Gothic building. A few miles south of the city of Edinburgh, and half a mile from the small village of Roslin, Rosslyn Chapel, built in the second half of the 15th century, maintains its age-old mystery.

What is it that brings so many people to this out-of-the-way chapel? Not only is Rosslyn Chapel (or, to give it its official title, the Collegiate Church of St Matthew) a stunning example of late medieval architecture and the stonemason's art, but it contains many clues that it is more than just a place of worship - and even that it was never intended to be simply a Christian church...

  

 

 

 



Topping a ridge above the ancient woodland of Roslin Glen and the valley of the Esk, the chapel itself is believed to be only the first stage of a much greater project, as the side chapel of a larger church. In the event, whether by accident or design, only the chapel itself was ever completed.  

This small building has the capacity to inspire jaw-dropping awe. Its architecture is unique. Although essentially Gothic, it reveals influences not only of its native land, but also - thought-provokingly - of far-flung and often (then) exotic countries, such as France, Spain and Italy. The clear influence of southern French and northern Spanish architecture suggests - although it is not known where the vast workforce required for such a project came from - that at least some them originated from around the Pyrenees. The mixture of styles suggests that the workforce was drawn from a much wider area.

Like all Gothic structures, the chapel was constructed according to the rules and practices of sacred geometry, fusing the arcane and occult with Christian and biblical imagery. But it is the mass of stone carvings that adorn virtually every square inch of the interior that holds such sway over the imagination of visitors and compels so many to return time and time again to marvel at the building. Not only are there the expected scenes from the Old and New Testaments, but images and symbols drawn from pagan Celtic, Norse - and even Islamic - cultures, revealing evidence of distant journeys - unimaginable to the vast majority of the British of the day - in strange and exotic lands. Many of the images depict plants and herbs: some even see evidence of South American flora, although the symbolism of many of the images still defies analysis.

Notice that Temple (Balantrodoch ~ the first Templar site in Scotland), Rosslyn Chapel and Templar Wood are all perfectly aligned.

View Enlarged Map

Notice that Temple (Balantrodoch ~ the first Templar site in Scotland), Rosslyn Chapel and Templar Wood are all perfectly aligned.


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