Year of Stories 2022
To mark Scotland’s Year of Stories in 2022, we invited people to share their memories of visits to Rosslyn Chapel over the years.
We are delighted to show some of these below and you can send in your own memories to [email protected]
Memories of church services
I remember how cold inside the Chapel was in Winter, often colder than outside in the fresh air. It was necessary to wrap up warmly in coat, hat, scarf, gloves and boots. During the Winter services I would keep my gloves on and when sitting would rest my feet on the bar under the pew in front to protect them from the draughts swirling around the flagstones.
Often when signing in Winter, my breath would come out in a mist. It was also damp inside the Chapel and some of the pillars and arches had patches of moss. When it rained heavily buckets would be placed on the flagstones to catch any drips leaking from the roof. Previously when mining was still taking place in the Bilston mines, the blasting vibrations would often cause flakes of masonry to fall both inside and outside the Chapel.
The Sunday school was run by the mothers and the weekly sessions were normally held in the home of one of the mothers as there was nowhere suitable inside the Chapel.
Myself, and my wife Amanda, were christened together in Rosslyn Chapel one week before we were married there 6th May 1989 by the then Rev Downing. It was special then and still is today. We now live in Roslin and visit often.
When I was a youngster I sang in the Chapel choir, Canon Taylor was the head man at the time. There used to be about 12 of us but as the years passed away there were only 2 of us left by the time I was 13/14, myself and Robert Bourhill from Penicuik. Our Sunday morning duties were lighting the candles, and preparing the Altar when it was time for the service, we followed behind just the two of us singing and then heading to the back of the Altar one on each side. I always loved to stand beside the Apprentice Pillar – it always felt special to me and still does. My childhood was Rosslyn Chapel.
Memories of events
I was born and brought up in the beautiful village of Roslin. I was a long-standing member of an amateur dramatic group aptly named the Glen Theatre, our performances took place in the Chapel at the Edinburgh Festival period. On one such occasion, a piper played on the top walkway of the Chapel in the summer darkness; it was one of the most haunting and memorable experiences of my life.
Both of my children were baptised in the Chapel and today it’s the place I go to for peace, tranquillity and strength. There is no other place like it.
Memories of the Chapel’s conservation project
When we first visited, there was access to the scaffolding and seeing the Chapel from that perspective and all the intricate carvings up there – along with the view – was stunning.
Memories of William the Chapel Cat
When I worked at the Chapel, in the Visitor Centre, during the filming of the Da Vinci Code, it was getting late. Outside, one of the film crew started packing his things up. He reached for his holdall to find William curled up asleep inside! He smiled and gently lifted him out. William gave a lazy stretch and sauntered off, no doubt to resume his snooze in the Chapel.
My best friend and I met William in October 2018. He was sunning himself outside the chapel, then went inside to rest in various sunny spots. We were there over many hours and it was a treat to pet him throughout the day, to watch him enjoying life as only a well-loved, and happy cat, can. I brought the book back to Virginia with me and have happy thoughts of a marvellous day each time I look at it
When I visited the Chapel, I didn’t know there was a cat. I joined a group of people while one of your staff walked us around the Chapel and we were asked to sit down – not too far from the entry to the basement, which has always been a source of a big secret. I was sitting in the front row but alone. As the guide told us the history, everyone was silent and attentive – the Chapel took on a mystical tone.
From nowhere, a ball of black and white leapt onto my knee! I leapt into the air and screamed. Unflustered, the guide said “Oh that’s William” and continued the story – so regaining composure, I sat down again and William shuffled back onto my lap where he remained for the rest of the talk.