Rosslyn Chapel, in Roslin Village, has been in the ownership of the St Clair family since its foundation in 1446. The Chapel took some forty years to complete and was not finished until after Sir William St Clair's death in 1484 and became the place of worship for the St Clair family for almost a century until this ceased in 1592 when it was seized by Protestant reformers.
The elaborately carved 15th Century Chapel has long been associated with the Knights Templar and the Grail legend. There are countless theories, myths and legends associated with the Chapel; many of which are impossible to prove or disprove conclusively
More recently, Rosslyn Chapel featured in the worldwide best-selling book, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, which was made in to a movie in 2006 starring Tom Hanks.
The Chapel is open public with daily guided tours, gift shop and coffee shop.
Over the years, Rosslyn Chapel fell into a state of disrepair. Although some initial restoration work was carried out in 1736, it was not until the early 1800's that the St Clair family began work in earnest to restore the interior of the building. By 1862 the Chapel was once more a working church.
Work to the Chapel in the early 1950's resulted in problems with moisture becoming trapped in the stone. In 1995, in an effort to halt the deterioration of the building fabric, the present Earl of Rosslyn established the Rosslyn Chapel Trust to care for the Chapel and ensure its long-term future.
Practically every surface of Rosslyn Chapel is carved in an outstanding display of craftsmanship. Stretching 21 metres in length and standing nearly 13 metres high, there are literally hundreds of individual figures and scenes carved. The beauty of its setting and the mysterious symbolism of its ornate stonework have inspired and intrigued artists and visitors ever since.
This is an exciting period in the 500 year history as Rosslyn Chapel undergoes a £7.5 million conservation and site improvement project to refurbish the roof, stonework and stained glass windows as well as improving visitor facilities.
Most conservation projects use conventional stonemasonry techniques, but the delicate nature of Rosslyn Chapel's ornate stone carvings commands a very different approach. Techniques more usually associated with single pieces of museum sculpture are being painstakingly applied throughout the Chapel. During the restoration work there is the chance to witness world-class conservation professionals at work and while plying their skill, the highly specialised conservators will train a new generation of skilled craftspeople so, in addition to protecting an historic building, Rosslyn Chapel is protecting skills that will be practised and passed on for years to come.
Further information on Rosslyn Chapel