Rosslyn Chapel is a 15th-century church in the village of Roslin, seven miles from Edinburgh in Scotland. The beauty of its setting and the mysterious symbolism of its ornate stonework have inspired and intrigued artists and visitors ever since. The chapel is famous both for its decorative art and its mysterious associations with the Knights Templar, the Holy Grail, and the Freemasons (Those were references in Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code").
The chapel was founded by Sir William Sinclair, of the St. Clair family, a Scottish noble family from Orkney who descended from Norman knights and, according to legend, linked to the Knights Templar. The foundation stone of Rosslyn Chapel was laid on St. Matthew's Day, September 21, 1446.
Rosslyn Chapel is relatively small and has an asymmetrical shape, owing probably to intended further construction. The arched stone ceiling of Rosslyn Chapel is finely decorated in squares with five pointed stars, ball flowers, tablet flowers, roses, a dove with an olive branch:
On the three pillars standing between the east aisle and the east chapel is a choir of 13 angels with musical instruments, representing the host of God. On the ribs of the intersections on the north and south sides are representations of various occupations in life.
Rosslyn Chapel is the home of the famous Apprentice Pillar, a decorated pillar that gets its name from a legend involving the mason in charge of the stonework in the chapel and his young apprentice.
The base of the Apprentice Pillar depicts eight dragons, from whose mouths emerge the vine that winds itself around the pillar. In Christian mythology, this represents the Tree of Life, but it probably was inspired by Norse mythology. The Norse Tree of Knowledge, Yggdrasil, holds up the heavens from the earth and the dragons of time gnaw at the roots of the Tree.
Location of Rosslyn Chapel