Saturday, June 19, 2010

Exploring Scotland 1 Castle at a Time Part 7 Rosslyn Castle and Rosslyn Chapel

We stayed in some spectacular B and Bs. And met some lovely people.  The sisters who ran Miller's 64 were wonderful.  The house was spotless and the small details they went out of their way to add made our stay there lovely, though we only stayed one night. Around every corner of the house there was some decorative detail that was interesting.  Like the skylights in the hall and our bathroom. 

When we first began planning our trip we had only one B and B chosen for our Edinburgh stay but plans change and expand and we ended up staying at Miller's for one night then moving on to the B and B we had made reservations at next.  It was called Orchard House.  Anne our hostess was a sweet lady and ever so helpful with information about the places we planned to go and the things we wanted to do. The house was beautiful.  I wish I'd had time to take more pictures outside. They had a fenced in back yard with a deck and a small duck pond.  I sat in the dining room and watched the birds before breakfast.
We left Orchard House on May 29th but couldn't leave Rosewell until we saw  Rosslyn Castle and the Chapel only a little over a mile away in the village of Roslin.

Unlike the chapel, Rosslyn Castle isn't spoken about at all. It is quite a walk from the chapel parking lot but well worth the effort.  The structure is actually 5 stories high but from this view you can't see that. The original castle was built in 1304 but was destroyed twice by fire and rebuilt. It was attacked again in 1544. The shell you see is what was left after Cromwell attacked the castle in 1651. Cannon fire succeeded in nearly leveling the top half of the structure.  The family then built the house you see within the shell of the castle. It is available to rent.   

Directly across from the front door of the house is an exterior wall of the original structure. It gives you an idea of how massive the castle was when first constructed.

We took a short 30 minute nature hike down to the river and back.  We saw people walking their dogs there and enjoying the mellow Saturday morning. I loved being in the woods, it felt like home.


 Can you almost see fairies living here beneath the roots of this tree?

Rosslyn Chapel was built in 1446 by William St. Clair, 3rd Prince of Orkney.  Chapels like this were built to insure that their founder was prayed for and to further religious teachings.  After his death in 1484 St. Clair was buried in the chapel.  Construction to the chapel was ceased. This is a model of the chapel because while we were there the exterior of the chapel was covered with scaffolding in preparation of the large dome that has protected the roof from moisture being removed and more renovations being done.

In 1630 Sir William St. Clair was granted charter to the Masons. During the filming of the Da Vinci Code that small detail was used in the movie as well as images of the chapel.  Because of that publicity Rosslyn Chapel received an endowment that allowed further renovation to be done on the chapel. 

While Rosslyn Castle was being sacked by Cromwell's troops in 1650, the chapel was used to house their horses.  OMG!!!

What makes Rosslyn Chapel so arresting are the wonderful Gothic architectural details that cover the exterior of the chapel. The many spires that decorate the tops of the buttresses and the other points of the building shoot skyward, just as Gothic architecture is supposed to do.  And the wonderful carvings inside the structure are amazing. The story behind this pillar is that while the Master mason was away on a trip, an apprentice carved the pillar as in accordance with a dream he had.  When the master returned he was so enraged by jealousy at the man's talent, he struck him down and killed him. His face is supposedly carved in the opposite corner so that he can look upon the pillar for all eternity.

  This is one of the Green Men. Probably one of the most famous images carved inside the chapel, it has been associated with pagan images of fertility. 

There are numerous angels carved inside in various posses.  One of Lucifer hanging upside down as he falls to heaven.  And the musical cubes that decorate one archway are extraordinary.  It has been suggested that they hold some kind of code.  Dan Brown obviously incorporated that into his plot.

Look at the eyes in the stained glass window design. While sitting inside the chapel, one gets the idea that religion and paganism have somehow been wed in the designs.  You can't see enough, can't study enough.

While we were there, scaffolding covered the ceiling preventing us from seeing the carvings there. Giant steel beams rested on the ledges of the stained glass windows only inches away from the precious designs.It nearly gave me heart failure to look at them. 

This memorial mirrors in design the church and can give you an idea of how extraordinary the architecture on the exterior is. 

Until tomorrow,
Teresa R.  


Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Gorgeous, grogeous, Teresa. Isn't it amazing at the master talent of the artists in those days!!!

Jody said...

Teresa I am so glad you got to stay with the Hunters at Orchard House. We stayed with ten days on our last trip and Archie was a fountain of information on the Knights Templar. I have set my wip in Roslyn at the time when the original Castle was where the Chapel sits today (1301/2).

My first trip to the Chapel was in '94 (pre-DVC) and have been back three more times. Each time I find something new. Its great you hike down the castle last trip is rained and we decided agst making the Trek.

Your pictures are great. Did they tell you about the red light that comes down only on the Equinoxes? I was there on a fall Equinox but it was a cloud covered day so we missed it.

I am so glad you got to Rosslyn Chapel and could stay with the Anne and Archie.

Jody said...

For those who want to see Orchard house check out their youtube promotional:

Teresa Reasor said...

I loved the nature hike. We had such wonderful weather. It only rained two times. We were so fortunate. And yes, we loved staying with Anne and Archie. I'm going to be giving their information to a Travel agent friend to recommend them.

Annabelle Ambrosio said...

Thank you for posting these beautiful pictures. Now I can say I've been to Scotland.

Mary Ricksen said...

Your pictures are wonderful What a wonderful account for all of us to share. Thanks Terri!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Teresa,
Wow, you are re-kindling wonderful memories. We loved Rosslyn Chapel too. You must have done the same tours as us. Did you go to Loch Lomond and Loch Ness?
One of my favourite places, except for the Highlands, was Edinburgh Castle. We spent several hours there.


P.L. Parker said...

Beautiful and very interesting. I am so impressed/envious. Someday, though. Thanks for sharing. These posts are wonderful.