Rosslyn Chapel: A Legacy in Stone
By Karen Ralls
Published Online (2005)
Introduction: Just a few miles south of Edinburgh, Scotland, stands one of the most ornatelycarved 15th century medieval stone chapels in all of Europe. Perhaps you have visited Rosslyn Chapel or seen it featured in The Da Vinci Code. The symbolism of Rosslyn’s exquisite medieval carvings—from the Green Man to the famed Apprentice Pillar– continue to intrigue many today. In The Knights Templar Encyclopedia, Rosslyn Chapel is of course one of the major entries under ‘R’….and as its subject matter relates to many other subjects of interest to ‘Templar history buffs’…let’s explore a bit about it here.
But what is the actual history of this extraordinary chapel? Rosslyn Chapel has been the focus of many a Quest throughout the centuries. A number of legends abound; it has been said to house everything from the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, a Black Madonna, lost scrolls from the Temple of Jerusalem, and much more, deep within its vaults. For years many have speculated about what– if anything– may have been hidden at Rosslyn, who put it there, and why. Others remain sceptical, saying that until the vaults are actually excavated, no one can say for sure. There have been many theories about the chapel and the wisdom of the ages that it may hold, from sober analysis to wild speculation. History, myth and legend seem to be all intertwined when dealing with a subject as complex as Rosslyn.
So is the Grail or some other treasure really hidden there? Did the Templars really build Rosslyn, as some allege? Why is Rosslyn Chapel so important today? But before we begin to unravel this web, let’s start with some of the known facts about Rosslyn.