Rosslyn Chapel (or Roslin Chapel) is on
the southern side of Chapel Loan, immediately east of Roslin village,
and just eleven kilometres from Edinburgh. Founded as the Collegiate
Chapel of St Matthew in the fifteenth century, it was intended to
be one of over thirty-seven collegiate churches to be built during the
reigns of James I and James IV between 1406-1513. The chapel is actually
the choir of what was intended to be a much larger, cross-shaped church.
The chapel, which is twenty-one metres long, was
founded by Sir William Sinclair of the St Clair family, Scottish
nobles from Orkney who were descended from Norman knights and, according
to legend, linked to the Knights Templar. The chapel's foundation stone
was laid on St Matthew's Day, 21 September 1446. After Sir William died
in 1484, the larger building that he had planned was never completed.
Instead he was buried in the foundation of his unfinished chapel.
The chapel fell out of use during the Reformation. By
1592 the altars had been smashed and the building began to decay. Cromwell's
troops used it as a stable, and it was not until 1736 that steps were taken
to halt the decay. Extensive repairs started in 1861, saving the chapel for
the Scottish Episcopal Church. More recently, it has become famous for its
supposed links to the Knights Templar, the Holy Grail, and the Freemasons,
thanks to the 2006 film, The Da Vinci Code.
Two photos on this page kindly contributed by
Louise Blake-Jeeves, and one by Chet Snow.