19 December, 2011

Rosslyn - a chapel of legends

If you've read the book or seen the film, 'The Da Vinci Code', then you've probably heard of Rosslyn Chapel. It was used as the location for the plot climax, and has become famous worldwide, and attracts massive visitor numbers. It's so beautiful that I think it deserves a mention.

The chapel is located in Roslin, which is a small village seven miles from Edinburgh. It has been described as an architectural wonder, as practically every surface is covered with carvings of individual figures and scenes. It is truly stunning, and has to be seen to be believed! The chapel has a great history, and lies at the centre of numerous legends (some even claim the holy grail lies buried beneath the building!) but it is the story of the "Apprentice Pillar" that interests me. It gets its name from a legend dating from the 18th century.

A master mason, who was in charge of the stonework in the chapel, didn't believe his young apprentice could carve the column without seeing the original which inspired his design. The master travelled to see the original, but on his return, he finds the young apprentice has completed the column anyway! The master mason was so jealous that he struck the apprentice on the head with his mallet, killing him. As punishment for his crime, the master mason's face is carved into the opposite corner to forever gaze upon his apprentice's pillar.

It's a small but fascinating place, and was a hidden gem until the popularity of Dan Brown's novel and subsquent release of the film. It's still stunning, and you do get the feeling that while many of the stories surrounding the chapel are rumours and legends, if there's a place to hide the holy grail, this would be it!

Have you been to Rosslyn? Did you discover a great location somewhere before it was used in a film?

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