“Random encounters with the unusual” is a repository for the oddities that me and Mrs J have encountered on our travels, which we find interesting or amusing in some way. Have a look, maybe you will find something interesting or amusing herein.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A visit to Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel is a small chapel located in the village of Roslin (about 7 miles south of Edinburgh), which was founded by William St Clair in 1446. The chapel lived a relatively quiet existence until the 20th Century when a number of interesting claims were made about the chapel's history in both works of fiction and non-fiction. 

A lot of the speculation that has arisen around the chapel and its history is inspired by the intricate carvings that adorn almost every part of the walls and ceilings of the chapel, and the attempts that people have made to decode the messages that they are assumed to contain. Some of the most prominent features of the chapel include:
  • Three intricately carved pillars: the Master Pillar, the Journeyman Pillar, and the Apprentice Pillar. The Apprentice Pillar is the most well known of the three and it has a legend associated with it. The legend claims that the apprentice who carved the pillar was murdered by his jealous master, for carving it against his master's orders.
  • 213 cubes which protrude from the pillars and arches within the chapel. Each of these cubes has patterns on its faces, and numerous attempts to decode the meaning of these patterns have been made. One theory is that the patterns on the cubes represent the wave patterns seen when flat surfaces vibrate at different frequencies, and that these frequencies can be interpreted into music. 
  • Over 100 carvings of Green men (which are typically human faces adorned with various leaves and plants).
  • Carvings of various plants, including carvings that are interpreted to depict both maize and aloe vera. Maize is believed to have originated from North America and to have been unknown in Europe at the time of the chapel's construction.
  • The chapel crypt in which generations of the St Clair family have been buried. The contents of the crypt have been subject to many theories over the years, and it has been rumored to have housed such things as the Holy Grail and the treasure of the Knights Templars.
It is mostly likely that the chapel was built by the St Clairs purely as a family chapel for private use, however who knows? Perhaps there is a hidden message or treasure residing within the chapel awaiting discovery.

Chapel frontage.

 Chapel frontage. 
Memorial close up.
Chapel side.
Chapel frontage.
Pictures, Scotland (October 2011).

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