20/09/2018
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Ten facts you (probably) didn't know about Rosslyn Chapel

fb7d7a2f-cffa-493d-bd16-02e20e76bcd8

From a secret beehive, to stained glass featuring a kangaroo, these facts about Rosslyn Chapel, will surely amaze you...

1: An unfinished project

       Rosslyn Chapel was never finished. When the founder died in 1484, his son, who inherited the Chapel, roofed the choir with its stone vault but did  not fulfil his father's intention that the building should be more like a cathedral in scale.

2: Truth conquers all...

There are hundreds of carvings in the stone of Rosslyn Chapel but only one carved inscription which reads – ‘Wine is strong. The king is stronger. Women are stronger still: but truth conquers all.’

3: Men at work

The crypt is thought to be the oldest part of the Chapel and was probably used as a workshop during the 40 years in which the chapel was under construction. There are working drawings scratched into the walls, thought to be a template for one of the stonecutters to follow.

4: Founding father

The founder, Sir William St Clair, was the third St Clair Prince of Orkney, a title first held by his grandfather, Henry, who was recognised as 42nd Earl of Orkney in 1369 and 10 years later the first St Clair Prince of Orkney. In 1471, Sir William received Ravenscraig Castle in Fife for the earldom of Orkney, which was annexed to the Scottish Crown in the same year.

5: The most ornate area

The Lady Chapel is the most ornate part of Rosslyn Chapel and measures 15feet high, seven and a half feet deep and extends to the whole thirty five foot width of the chapel.

6: Carving error

The carving showing the seven corporal works of mercy mistakenly includes ‘avarice’ and the carving of the seven deadly sins mistakenly includes ‘charity’.

7: Australian origins

The most recent stained glass window was installed in 1970 and is dedicated to the Earl of Rosslyn’s grandmother, Princess Dimitri. The window’s theme is St Francis of Assisi and he is shown surrounded by birds, butterflies, a squirrel, a rabbit and, as a symbol of Princess Dimitri’s Australian origins, a kangaroo.

8: Royal connection

Queen Victoria visited the Chapel in 1842, during her first visit to Scotland, and described the architecture as ‘exceedingly rich.’

9: A place of worship

The Chapel is dedicated to St Matthew and, part of the Scottish Episcopal Church, continues to be a working church, with services every Sunday.

10: A haven for bees

The stonemasons who built the Chapel created a secret beehive in a pinnacle, high up on the roof. Bees were considered sacred messengers of God and this was to provide a safe haven for them.

VISIT ROSSLYN CHAPEL

Discover Rosslyn Chapel for yourself with a visit to this beautiful, historic building, just seven miles south of Edinburgh city centre. The chapel is open throughout the year. For visitor details, day and evening visits, the events programme and more history, visit the website.

      QUICK LINK: Five Edinburgh views you (probably) haven't noticed

(images copyright Rosslyn Chapel)


 

 

  

Back to "Scottish history" Category

20/09/2018 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Painter William Dyce was born - On this day in history

Scottish painter William Dyce was born on 19 September 1806.


Historian Gilbert Burnet was born - On this day in history

Scottish historian Gilbert Burnet was born on 18 September 1643.


Precious David Linvingstone tableaux painstakingly restored as part of a £6.1M heritage project

A group of precious polychromatic plaster tableaux depicting David Livingstone's historic journey to Africa ...


David Dunbar Buick was born - On this day in history

Scottish inventor David Dunbar Buick was born on 17 September 1854.


Other Articles

On this day in Scottish history - King James VII of Scotland died

King James VII of Scotland died on 16 September 1701. ...


The Hector emigrant ship left Loch Broom bound for Canada

The Hector emigrant ship left Loch Broom bound for Canada on 15 September 1773.


Geographer Robert Gordon was born - On this day in history

Scottish geographer Robert Gordon of Straloch was born on 14 September 1580. ...


Call and Response: The University of Glasgow & Slavery

Members of the public are invited to react and respond to a new exhibition at the University of Glasgow that ...