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Rosslyn Chapel “A Sacred Space”

Every door has a mystical energy that calls to us, beckoning us to enter the unknown.  

Rosslyn Chapel was steeped in folklore and legend of the Orkney Islands and Norway, long before Dan Brown brought us the Da Vinci Code.

Situated in the pristine beauty of rural Midlothian, Rosslyn Chapel was founded in 1446 by Sir William St. Clair, the third and final St. Clair Prince of Orkney.

There is much to this narrative, which began in 1066, at the Battle of Hastings when One William St. Clair fought alongside his cousin, William the Conqueror.  His fortunes increased when he later gained the barony of Rosslyn from King Malcolm Canmore of Scotland.  Fast forward a few centuries in 1329 – 1330, another William St. Clair was one of the lords assigned to bring Robert the Bruce’s heart to the Holy Land.  Regrettably, he was killed in Spain

According to the Rosslyn Chapel website, Rosslyn Chapel first found fame thanks to Sir Walter Scott (15 August 1771 – 21 September 1832), one of Scotland’s most famous sons, and prominent historical novelist, poet, playwright and historian.

The day was dark with rain and clouds when we passed through the heavy doors of Rosslyn Chapel.   While we were unable to take photos of the inside, there is a marvelous app that will take you on a virtual tour where you can view the Chapel’s magnificent interior.

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link on Dan Antion’s blog post, No Facilities in the comments section, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

Thursday Doors – Poster by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

By Rebecca Budd

Lifestyle Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

44 replies on “Rosslyn Chapel “A Sacred Space””

A few hours ago I was on a Zoom call with my mother Frances and her sister, Sunbeam (and she really is a sunbeam). The topic of photos as a way to remember people and events came up. Photos defy time by crystallizing moments that allow us to go back and remember. When I was looking at the Rosslyn photos, I remember how cold it was that day and how a hot cup of tea warmed my hands. Thank you for joining me at Rosslyn Chapel – do check out the app. It is if you are there.

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Sunbeam is such a great name! It’s your aunt’s given name? You’re so right about photos prompting memories we would otherwise forget. The interior of the chapel is really quite something! The vaulted ceiling is my favorite part.

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Sunbeam was her given name. I understand that she was named after a very kind woman. It seemed this woman was much beloved, for as the story was told to me, years later Aunt Sunbeam met another Sunbeam who was named after the same women.

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Thank you, Peter! Dan Antion is a wonderful host. I appreciate the time and effort that goes in to making a community event. I do hope you will join us – everyone is welcome. Many thanks for your visit and comments – very much appreciated.

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I am delighted that you joined me at Rosslyn Chapel, Luisa. It was so cold that day, but what a wonderful experience. The green fields surrounding the Chapel are pristine which adds to the ancient feeling. Every step I took, I felt the weight of many histories.

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Splendid! Looks like they have buffed it up somewhat since cashing in on its Dan Brown inspired fame. It used to be free to visit and interior photography was permitted back in the day when I lived only a few miles away from Roslin.

✨🙏🕉☀🌙⚖🪔🕊♾🈚☯🌍🐲🙋‍♂️

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The Da Vinci Code was a fortunate event for Rosslyn Chapel. A new visitor centre opened in July 2011. Photos are not allowed in the chapel since 2008, something that has been in debate, especially now with Open Access. Across the world, museums and art galleries are opening their public-domain artworks for free and unrestricted use. I have been following this evolution with interest over the past few years. The question is – who owns knowledge? Thank you so much for joining me at Rosslyn Chapel, Graham – I enjoy our conversations.

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I can’t really blame the St Clairs for monetising its fame, given the costs that must be involved in its restoration and upkeep. It is just that a part of me is a little sad to see that that is the case, given my memories of it being a church in use for weekly public services that was freely available for anyone to drop in to have a look around. I guess its rise to fame saw a marked increase in the numbers of visits from tourists, though, no doubt leading to the need to control access and at the same reap some financial gain.

😌🙏✨

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I LOVE the atmosphere you created with black and white, Graham. Ancient and mystical. Many thanks for adding these photos, dating back from 2012. What I love about photography – it is the only way for us to stop time.

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Marvelous doors, Rebecca. Thanks for the reminder of this connection to the da Vinci Code. I remember how fascinated I was by this location. I have a “coffee table” edition with lots of photos of the artwork mentioned in the story. I’ve had a yen to re-read it. If only there were more hours in the day. Hugs on the wing.

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Thank you for joining me at Rosslyn Chapel, Teagan. I heartily agree – if there were more hours in a day. I am delighted to be joining the Thursday Doors community event. I feel like I’ve travelled the world from my kitchen table in the space of a morning. I love the symbolism in the poster that you created. The Da Vinci code gave Rosslyn Chapel an international appeal so, at the time, there were line-ups. We chose a rainy day for our visit to avoid them. The mists of the morning added to the mystical energy of the location. Check out the app – it feels like you have entered the chapel. The best part – no line ups!!

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I am delighted that you joined me at Rosslyn, John. There are so many places to see. The only Paris trip we made was in 2009. It was only week long so I missed a great deal. What I can’t understand is how I miss the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore. I remember passing it by, but I why didn’t I go in?!!! Is remains a mystery. By the way, check out the Rosslyn Chapel app. When you access it, It is as if you have entered the chapel.

What I most like about Thursday Doors is that I can travel the world from my kitchen table. Dan has continued the Thursday Doors theme, which allows us to participate within an amazing community. I appreciated how much time and effort go into these virtual events.

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Thanks for sharing these doors and the rich history associated with them, Rebecca. You know I love history and this place carries so much. I will take the tour when I get off my phone. Thanks for joining us at Thursday Doors.

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I agree, Diana – there is a mystical quality that envelops the buildings. I understand that Dan Brown was specific in choosing a place that had these qualities. I am fascinated by the history of buildings and structures. Their lives extend beyond those that created them, which adds to the drama.

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Isn’t it fun to travel virtually these days, Debby. I am delighted that I connected with Dan on Thursday Doors. I’m heading back into my photos to look for all the doors that I walked through. Send some sunshine our way. It snowed today in Vancouver!!! Hugs

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I am delighted that I found the Thursday Door Challenge. I travel the world and enter doors that I never thought that I would see – right from my kitchen table! Exciting. History has many layers, some that are forever hidden in the folds of history. It is enough to know that there were people who documented that time, something that you do, for our time, with your writing.

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I remember wishing for a sunny day because photographs have that marvelous “sunshine sparkle.” But when I look back at the photos, the rain adds to the historical feeling. Plus, there was less visitors that day. I love following your blog. Your colours, art and design are amazing. I am very glad that we connected.

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The rain also added some mystery. and I like to see pictures empty of people. Thank you for being part of my blog. Last year I took a bit of rest from writing, now I am back with all the color energy I can. .

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Thank you first for “Every door has a mystical energy that calls to us, beckoning us to enter the unknown.” I love reading and collecting quotable quotes, and this one sends shivers of excitement down my spine. Like Lucy in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? Like Bilbo’s door that Gandalf marked for the beginning of an adventure? May I use this quote and attribute it to you?

The Chapel certainly seems to live up to the mystic of the quote: I like how the video shows different architectures that were added over the centuries, and seem to blend into one whole. And there are a lot of interesting details, especially when the features are uneven (like the smiling face to the left of the door) : who knows what tales they could unfold?

“The day was dark with rain and clouds as we passed through the heavy doors of Rosslyn Chapel.” If that isn’t a great opening for a story, I don’t know what is!

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This is a fabulous post, Rebecca! The history is so interesting, and your video rocks. You sure picked the right music for it.
Doors like this don’t grow on trees. Thank you for this!
{{{hugs}}}

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Many thanks for adding sparkle to my day, Resa. I am delighted that you joined me at Rosslyn Chapel. I am delighted that I have joined Dan Antion’s Thursday Doors project. I am travelling all over the world from my kitchen taken. No jet lag!!

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