June 28 – Maybe I'm A-mazed
The roads do seem to be better marked in Scotland (for the moment) and before long we've arrived at Rosslyn Chapel. Located on the edge of a steep wooded valley, it's difficult to believe the chapel is only six miles from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh.
Shrouded in netting and surrounded by skeletal scaffolding, the exterior is looking more than a little bleak on this gray misty day. The interior more than makes up for it. Everywhere we look there are amazing carvings.
Built in 1446 by William St. Clair, third and last Prince of Orkney, Rosslyn Chapel is rich in ornamentation which seems endless in variety. It's astounding the amount of work that went into this place. The pillars, the ceiling, the arches – nothing is left undecorated. I am rendered speechless with awe. Dragons, angels, knights, flowers, stars – they're all magnificent.
Many of the Biblical stories are portrayed and there are references to the Knights Templar. Pagan symbols can be found here too. Rosslyn has the largest number of "Green Men" found in any Medieval building.
Marvelous stained glass windows, brightly colored and well preserved, light the chapel in a warm rainbow. I am surrounded by things that I love, the things that have defined my love of this land for so many years and can barely believe my eyes. Rosslyn really can't be described – it must be experienced.
Dana and I go in search of the carving of the death mask of Robert the Bruce, aided by a sign near the front of the Chapel. Counting windows and altars, we finally find it, tucked up at an angle, beneath and held by an angel. I turn and look for Robin, but she's nowhere to be seen. Soon she appears from below. Taking my arm she whispers "You have to go down there."
I hadn't yet found this quiet place in my wandering and head right down. It's so quiet, so hushed and I am reminded of the Saxon crypt at Ripon. There is a tombstone here inscribed "William De St. Clair, Knight Templar." This part of Rosslyn is modest compared to the wonders of above, but no less special.
In the gift shop I buy a handful of post cards picturing some of the more elaborate carvings. I also purchase a book entitled Scotland's Stained Glass. Thus begins a book buying spree that lasts several days.
Three o'clock seems to be the time that our stomachs start making their rumbling announcement that yes, breakfast was good, but have you looked at your watch lately? After a quick stop at a grocery store in town for a snack of a scone and a Pepsi, we're off on our way to Crichton Castle.
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