NT2763 : Rosslyn Chapel - threequarter view

taken 7 years ago, near to Roslin, Midlothian, Great Britain

Rosslyn Chapel - threequarter view
Rosslyn Chapel - threequarter view
A view of the famous Rosslyn Chapel showing its northern side (to the left) and baptistry attached to its western end. Most of the chapel dates from c.1460 but the baptistry was added much later (1881). The chapel has been in the private ownership of the St Clair family since its construction.
See shared description below.
Rosslyn Chapel
Rosslyn Chapel is a remarkable and unusual building in the village of Roslin south of Edinburgh. It is not particularly old, dating from the mid C15th, nor is it very large - but what makes Rosslyn unique is the exuberance of its carvings which are unlike any other church in Britain.
Interior photography is not allowed, so to see these carvings I suggest you visit the chapel's website (link at bottom of this article) - or indeed visit the chapel itself.
There are also a few interior photos on this site.

It was begun by William St Clair (pronounced and sometimes spelt "Sinclair") in 1446. William was the 3rd and final Prince of Orkney who decided at the age of 36 that he needed to atone somewhat for the exploits of his earlier life. He determined to build a splendid church to the glory of God, and so commenced what is now Rosslyn Chapel. His original plans were for a much larger cruciform church, but in the event he died in 1484 with only the eastern section built, and his son (also called William) had, it seems, neither the funds nor the inclination to complete his father's plans. Excavations have found evidence of the foundations of a nave running to the west of the current church in roughly equal proportion to the extant eastern end, but that is as far as building ever got on this western arm and the planned transepts never even had their foundations dug it would seem.

Over the next few centuries the chapel had a chequered history, suffering as a Catholic institution from the iconoclastic purges of both the Reformation and Cromwellian era. Considering its level of ornamentation it has actually survived remarkably well. To read about its history in detail visit the sites hyperlinked below.

Rosslyn Chapel achieved some fame a few years ago with its rôle in Dan Brown's historically wildly inaccurate "The Da Vinci Code". In this book "Rosslyn" (the chapel and castle) or "Roslin" (the village) were taken to mean Rose Line - a sort of religious lay line integral to the plot. In truth "Rosslyn / Roslin" most likely comes from the Celtic words "ros", a moor and "celyn" meaning holly.

Good article on "Undiscovered Scotland" here LinkExternal link
Wikipedia article LinkExternal link
Rosslyn Chapel's own website LinkExternal link
Rosslyn Chapel
The chapel was founded in 1446 by Sir William Sinclair (or St Clair), Earl of Orkney, landowners in the area since the 12th century. After a sometimes turbulent history its remarkable carved stonework was deteriorating in damp conditions, until a programme of conservation and repair was begun in 1995 under the auspices of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust. A protective ‘umbrella’ canopy NT2763 : Rosslyn Chapel with protective roof was erected in 1997 over the chapel to dry out the stonework, and was removed in 2010.
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NT2763, 162 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Sunday, 2 September, 2012   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 5 September, 2012
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Religious sites 
Place (from Tags)
Rosslyn Chapel  Roslin 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 274 630 [100m precision]
WGS84: 55:51.3207N 3:9.6110W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 274 630
View Direction
East-southeast (about 112 degrees)
Looking for a postcode? Try this pageExternal link
Clickable map

Other Tags
Chapel  Architectural Interest 

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