Rosslyn Chapel History: Temple of Mysteries

Historical and Fascinating

When I decided to write The Da Vinci Code, I knew that its finale would have to take place at the most mysterious and magical chapel on earth — Rosslyn.’ – Dan Brown, Author of The Da Vinci Code.

Rosslyn Chapel is a spectacular sight to behold and is located only 20 minutes from The Old Millhouse. We encourage all visitors to check it out as it is listed as one of the most interesting destinations in Scotland.

Myth, legend, conspiracy, murder, knights in shining armor, Rosslyn Chapel History is endless! The gothic structure is over 600 years old and has inspired stories, books, and movies due to its intricate carvings, endless secrets and alleged connections with historic groups, such as the Knights Templar.

Rosslyn Chapel History

Rosslyn Chapel is located in the village of Roslin in Midlothian. The Chapel was built in 1446 by William St. Clair of Rosslyn. Originally known as the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew, the chapel is an architectural masterpiece. It took over 40 years to construct and has many strange, mysterious and unexplained characteristics. Every piece of stonework tells a story and there are so many tales to tell.

Rosslyn Chapel Carvings

The whole building is covered in intricate stone carvings, 110 of which are of “Green Men”, which are carvings of faces with greenery or leaves blended into the faces. These are an homage to the Pagan Gods pre-Christianity. Given that the chapel was built as a Christian place of worship, it is extremely odd that these Pagan symbols drape throughout the chapel.

Other carvings portray stories from the Bible including the Devil and Angels playing Bagpipes. Given that bagpipes came to Scotland in around 1400, the angelic piper depiction is thought to be the earliest historical reference to Scotlands national instrument anywhere in the country.

Apprentice Pillar

The Apprentice Pillar is covered in highly detailed patterns similar to a Helix DNA spiral. You can see it in the back right of the image above. Although photography is strictly forbidden in the Chapel nowadays. The pillar is said to have been carved by the Master Stonemason’s Apprentice whilst the Master Mason was on a trip in Rome. When the master mason returned and saw the pillar, he was so impressed by his apprentices’ exuberant carving skills, he immediately murdered him in a jealous rage when he saw it. The Master Stonemasons pillar is in the back left of the image and we think he may have felt just a little bit “shown up.”

Knights Templar

The chapel started to gain attention in the ’80s due to its connection to the Knights Templar. Popular culture has taken hold of this connection and ran with it, from The Da Vinci Code book and movie to a Batman comic from 1998 – Batman: The Scottish Connection.

The legend tells that the Knights supposedly stashed treasure from Soloman’s temple in Rosslyn Chapel after they were outlawed throughout Europe. The chapel has carvings alluding to the Templar connection, including Templar symbols of two riders sharing a horse. Along with the stories of the Knights Templar treasure, other artifacts said to be hidden in the vaults underneath Rosslyn Chapel include the Holy Grail and the mummified head of Jesus Christ. Obviously, these things have not (yet) been found on the site, but the lore adds to the mystery of Rosslyn. And leaves visitors coming back time and time again.

The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown’s best seller “The Da Vinci Code” includes Rosslyn Chapel as a key destination. The chapel was used in the film version, however, at the time, the whole chapel was under scaffolding for refurbishment. The interior shots were filmed inside Rosslyn, but replica walls were built outside for filming (to hide the scaffolding), and aerial shots were actually filmed with a scale model built for the movie. Amazing huh?

Guest Information

Rosslyn Chapel History is the gift that keeps on giving. And this is why people keep coming back. As mentioned earlier, no photography is permitted within the building. But doesn’t that just add to the magic? Every tour guide tells a different story. Every visitor leaves with a new theory. We definitely think Rosslyn Chapel is a must visit!

If you book your stay at The Old Millhouse, we would be delighted to arrange transport to and from Rosslyn for you or any other locations that may take your fancy during your trip.

For more info on opening times etc, check out the links below;



Contact us

The Old Millhouse 40 Newmills Road Dalkeith EH22 2AQ

Phone: 0131 660 1767

Mobile: 0782 477 3060