Owned by the St. Clair or Sinclair family since 1446 Rosslyn Chapel located in Midlothian, Scotland is surrounded by many myths and mysteries.
The most famous legend connected to Rosslyn involves the Knights Templar * and their quest for the Holy Grail—which was the chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper.
One myth states this chalice is supposedly hidden somewhere within the chapel.
* The Knights Templar known for their prowess in battle and finances were a Christian military order that played an integral part in the early Crusades. However in 1307, rumors about the order’s secret rituals spread which led to their eventual downfall.
|Templars burn at stake.|
Philip lV of France deeply in financial debt to the Templars conveniently accused them of heresy and fraud and burned several of their leaders at the stake.
The Rosslyn Chapel was built in the 15th century for the Prince of Orkney, Sir William St. Clair. He most likely was involved in the Order of the Knights Templar.
The chapel is known for its mysterious and intricate carvings that have stumped historians for generations. They reflect biblical, masonic, pagan and Knights Templar themes.
Some of these carvings are out of time and place—they were carved in the chapel 200 years before Columbus discovered America. They depict items only found in the New World-- American cactus and Indian sweet corn or maize.
|Corn or Maize carvings.|
One legend states an Apprentice who was a stonemason was murdered in the chapel. This young man is said to have carved a beautiful pillar while his master was away in Rome looking for inspiration. When his master returned he found the pillar surpassed his own skill. In a jealous rage he then killed the Apprentice.
When the Prince of Orkney died he was buried in the chapel—after this male members of the St. Clair family were buried in vaults below the chapel, without coffins but instead in full knight regalia until the 1700s.
In the crypt located below the chapel, visitors for years have experienced a mysterious dark wind without an apparent source.
Another legend states when a descendant of the Prince of Orkney dies the whole chapel appears to be on fire. Sir Walter Scott wrote about this phenomenon in his narrative poem Lay of the Last Minstrel.
The Chapel altars were smashed during the Reformation in 1592—it being a Catholic church-- the chapel was then left to ruin until the 18th century. In 1736, the ceiling and floors were restored which saved it from complete decay. In 1861, the architect David Bryce was commissioned to restore Rosslyn.
Today the chapel is widely known because of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code. But it has been famous for longer than this—partly because of the ghosts seen at the chapel.
For years there have been numerous sightings of phantom monks in and around the chapel.
One curator witnessed a ghostly monk praying at an altar in the crypt. This monk was seen surrounded by four guardian knights.
In other sightings witnesses have come forward to state they saw monks dressed in grey or black both inside and outside the chapel at night.
Other curators have reported hearing mysterious sounds when there is no one around.
A group of actors rehearsing for a play at the chapel in 2006 had one cast member claim to see a strange “fairy like“ entity roaming the grounds and another actor stated he saw a ghostly figure in the chapel.
The year before another actor rehearsing a play inside the chapel heard a child’s voice in the crypt. He shouted down, “I am locking up.” However when he went down there was no one there.
Recently odd lights have been witnessed in the chapel.
Here is a photograph and enlargement that Brian Kannard took in the Rosslyn Chapel. The English paper The Telegraph published it in 2007. Kannard states he does not know if it is a ghost or not.
|Enlargement of what he captured.|