Sunday, September 25, 2005

Rosslyn and its secrets

Its strange to think that the answer to one of histories oldest mysteries may lie in a tiny Chapel in Scotland but according to some, the strange marks on the wall and the even stranger fourteenth pillar may mark the resting place of the most prized relic in all Christendom, the Holy Grail.

Its the cup used by Christ at the last supper and the center of endless myth and folklore tales. But what's it doing in Scotland? Well, never one to let my blog-fans down, I had a snoop round the place to try to find out.

It may only be a novel, but Dan Brown's Da Vinci code does contain some truth, or truthful myth at least. In Browns book, the hero, Robert Langdon, jet-sets all over Europe to try to unravel a religious code which has been hidden away within works of art and architecture. Langdon is drawn into a world where the unfamiliar is hidden in the familiar and he is forced to look at some of the worlds greatest works of art in a completely new way.

I won't spoil the story for those who haven't read the book, but part of Langdon's trail sees him visit this small Chapel just south of Edinburgh. Its a tiny place which looks quite unassuming from the outside but on the inside, the lavishly decorated interior holds a wealth of mysteries waiting for any 'wannabe' code-breaker. Moses seems to have horns, some of the angels are carved upside-down and there are numerous masons marks scattered around the walls. They seem to be architectural graffiti, but could they symbolise something more?

Many books point to something special at Rosslyn and although Browns book is a novel, hes chosen a very infamous site. The Chapel has been linked with Freemasonary along with a mysterious order of religious warriors called the 'Knights Templar' who supposedly found the cup of Christ and buried it somewhere underneath or inside the Chapel at Rosslyn. Here the hushed worlds of secret societies and unearthed relics mix to find their final home at Rosslyn and according to some historians, this isn't by chance.

Some believe that the Knights Templar amassed many relics over the centuries, treasures which were hidden in key Churches and Chapels for protection. When the order of the Templars was outlawed and its followers executed, some say that their secrets died with them, others claim that the Secret societies left clues etched on the walls and in ancient manuscripts and works of art. To such an end, treasure hunters have almost taken the Chapel apart, piece by piece, looking for either the Ark of the Covenant, the cup used by Christ at the last supper or even manuscripts said to be written by King Solomon himself. They have found nothing. Nothing, apart from more mysteries that is. Mysteries like a sealed chamber which at the moment, remains sealed or more markings and inscriptions which seem to come from within the walls themselves as the layers of paint fall away.

As I wondered round, my mind was caught somewhere between folklore and my personal beliefs. Everyone loves a great mystery and even though I don't subscribe to Dan Brown's 'facts' on which he bases his novel. Its amazing to see how some parts of church history blend easily with shadowy figures, lurking precariously between fact and fiction.

I wasn't the only person wondering around the Chapel either. Along with the solitary American 'Brownie' tourist, security guards occasionally popped in to check that studio lights and equipment were still in place. It turns out that Robert Langdon himself will be visiting the Chapel in a few days! Well Tom Hanks actually, who plays the part of Langdon in the upcoming film based on Dan Brown's book.

So once again at Rosslyn, fantasy invades reality and what an ideal setting. As the actors run between the ancient pillars, they will be writing the newest chapter in the Chapels story. A tale which started centuries ago. A story not written with words, but strange etchings on stone which in some ways, contain more than words ever could.

The Chapel of Rosslyn redies itself for Hollywood


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Anonymous said...

I live about 10 minutes from this place, Never been inside before but i might go sometime. The road to it is now blocked by the police for filming.

Anonymous said...

excellent blog

very well written and interesting too

PAUL HURST said...


Paul Hurst said...

We get everywhere don't we :-)

Paul Hurst said...

One of these pictures features in a book: