A Visit to Rosslyn Chapel

Published on 19 April 2020 at 12:18

Another contribution from Judith

If you have read “The Da Vinci Code”, you will know a little about Rosslyn Chapel which was formally dedicated to St. Mathews on the 21st September 1450.

This historical monument, a legacy to the Knights Templar, is located to the south of Edinburgh and was built by William St. Clair, Prince of Orkney and Knight of the Order of St. James as a family church for the St. Clairs.

“Interesting background” you might say, but really, nothing can prepare you for the number of carvings on the pillars and walls of this chapel. If possible, take binoculars with you because some carvings are so small!

The last time I went, I sat and listened to the guide talking about the carvings, and then I went round on my own to look for the carvings of the Green Man.

I had studied these elusive carvings on this website so I knew what to look for.

The Green Man is one of the most powerful and enduring pagan symbols and was originally a Celtic fertility symbol.

These male heads are found in a variety of forms in the ornamental stonework and woodwork of churches and seem to peer through foliage, which is often growing from their eyes, mouth, ears and nostrils. They are usually found on roof bosses, capitals and corbels.

There are supposed to be around 100 in the Chapel, especially in the Lady Chapel, but I didn’t count the ones I located. It’s fun though to try and find them all.

And please, have a look at the famous Apprentice Pillar! (Do read: “The Hiram Key”) This pillar is fantastic!

Here is a special treat: A virtual tour of Rosslyn Chapel!


Just a tip: Arrive at opening time or an hour or so before closing time. The chapel is small and very popular. Avoid the crowds!



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