Roslin Church Scotland Photo, Famous Building, Location, Apprentice Pillar, Da Vinci Code

Roslin Church, Edinburgh

Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin, south of Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland

Brief Description

Restoration + Museum on Knights Templar & Freemasonry by Simpson & Brown Architects, Edinburgh

Roslin Church – also known as Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin, Scotland

Directions: just south-east of Roslin village, off B7006, by Roslin Glen

Roslin Church

The foundation stone for Rosslyn Chapel was laid on St. Matthews day, 1446. The orientation is due east & west, marked out by the solar ray by ancient tradition. A double equilateral triangle regulates the proportions at Rosslyn.

Rosslyn Chapel
Roslin Church Edinburgh: west facade image © Adrian Welch

Foundations for a much larger nave at Roslin Chapel excavated in the 19th century suggest grander plans were made for the chapel. The chapel as seen now is therefore what would have been the choir as the larger nave was never built. Rosslyn Chapels’ asymmetry is just one of the many unique architectural features.

There are 32 different forms of arch throughout Roslin Chapel and a large variety of allegorical pillar treatments.

Rosslyn’s famous ‘Apprentice Pillar’ (or Prentice Pillar / Princes Pillar) was apparently the result of a bizarre series of events: the master mason who commenced carving the Apprentice Pillar was unable to complete the work. He went to Rome to receive guidance on finishing it. On returning to Rosslyn the mason discovered the pillar had been completed by his apprentice. The master mason subsequently killed his young apprentice in anger.

Rosslyn Chapel
Roslin Chapel Edinburgh: south facade image © Adrian Welch

On the three pillars standing between Roslin Chapel’s east aisle and the east chapel is a choir of thirteen angels with musical instruments, representing the host of God. On some of the other pillars are a series of carvings showing Issac on the alter with the ram caught by the horns, Abraham looking towards his son, Samson destroying the philistine lords, David killing the lion, the Prodigal son, the Crucifixion and a some that depict the history of the Roslin Family. Also of interest are the masons marks on the individual stones, the use of which, was rare even at the time of building.

The central pendant at the east end of Roslin Chapel has a representation of the Star of Bethlehem and sculpted figures of the Virgin and Child and Eastern Kings associated with the birth of Christ. On the ribs of Rosslyn’s groins (intersections) on the north and south sides are representations of various occupations in life which is also referred to as the ‘Dance of Death’

Roslin Chapel: Opening Times
(correct at time of writing) – check with owners:-
Mon – Sat 10am to 5pm
Sun 12pm to 4.45pm

Roslin Church: Phase 2
Simpson & Brown Architects

Valued at £395k, and funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Eastern Scotland European Partnership, Historic Scotland and the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, should all be finished by the Autumn 2004.

Contact Roslin Chapel: [email protected]

News Excerpt re Rosslyn Chapel:

Rosslyn: Phase 2 Underway
Phase 2, valued at £395k, and funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Eastern Scotland European Partnership, Historic Scotland and the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, should all be finished by the Autumn 2003:

Roslin Chapel Exhibition
Roslin, Scotland
Jul 2002
National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh
Contact: 0131 624 6200

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Comments / photos for Roslin Church Architecture page welcome