I’ve always wanted to visit Rosslyn Chapel, especially for all the myths and mysteries surrounding this chapel, so I was very excited when we decided to visit it last summer. Many believe that the Holy Grail or even the head of Christ all lie hidden within the chapel… then there was Dan Brown. All in all, Rosslyn Chapel attracts a lot of visitors for different reasons :-)
When we arrived, I was really disappointed to learn that we couldn’t take pictures inside the chapel. The place was really small… and there was a lot of people.. so in a way I could understand that they have to limit the number of flashs or selfie sticks to make the experience pleasurable for everyone. I was a bit heartbroken because I would have loved to take pictures of all the intricate carvings and others symbols :-( The museum was really entertaining and we learnt a lot ! Thankfully, I managed to take a few pictures inside the museum as well as in the souvenir shop, where it was allowed.
One of the most impressive thing about this chapel were definitively the carvings, mostly inspired by nature.
There are more than 100 green men in Rosslyn chapel and it was kind of fun to try to spot them all.
They were well hidden sometimes. The human faces are surrounded by vegetation, often growing out of their mouths. It’s very common in most medieval churches apparently as it represents the symbol of rebirth, representing the cycle of growth each spring. The most interesting bit about that is that you could find different faces, with young faces symbolising spring at the East of the Chapel, ageing faces as autumn approaches through South and West, and skeletons in the North.
Of course, there are more carvings than green men, for example the gargoyles, or the finest of all, the Apprentice Pillar.
I was fascinated by the story of the Apprentice Pillar. The legend says that the master stonemason had to design a pillar. The carvings were so intricate that he didn’t work to work on it until he had travelled to Rome to see the original. While he was away, the mason’s apprentice had a dream that he had finished the pillar. When the master came back, the pillar was complete, a masterpiece of stonework. The mason was not pleased and killed the apprentice.
The guide told us that the pillar was probably made by an expert stonemason and not by apprentice. I like the story better :-)
After that visit, I had mixed feelings. In a way I was very happy to have visited it but I could have learnt all of that by watching a documentary I suppose. When I cannot take pictures, half of the fun is gone for me.. I know it’s a bit sad but I can’t help it ! That’s how I enjoy my visits :-)