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Re: Rosslyn or Roslin Castle?
At 21:29 12/07/99 -0400, you wrote:
> I was in process of mailing copies of the castle print to Bradley
>Sinclair Barker when I discovered that the Clan Sinclair web site uses the
>spelling "Roslin" for the castle while in Robert Brydon's book it is spelled
>"Rosslyn." I may be splitting hairs, but I would like to be as accurate as
> On my last trip to Roslin, I noticed nestled close to the foundation of
>the castle in the southeast corner what I identified as a yew tree. Based
>on others that I have come across over the years I estimated this tree to be
>several hundreds of years old. I was reading parts of Pohl's book on Prince
>Henry recently when I came across an account of Henry gazing upon a yew
>tree. Would the tree I saw on my trip be the same tree?
> I have taken the liberty to publish in booklet form the text material on
>Rosslyn Chapel which accompanied the print of the chapel which I purchased
>and then reproduced. I would like to send you a copy of the book because it
>speaks to an experience the author of the article had while walking in the
>vicinity of the chapel one summer day. He saw what appeared to be smokeless
>furnaces, with red fire, which was a visual phenomenon created by sun light
>passing through the windows of the chapel. This is interesting because it
>would appear, given the position of the sun in summer and its alignment with
>the chapel, that the sunlight would have to penetrate on set of windows,
>cross the chapel and pass through or certainly illuminate the second set of
>windows. The author also theorizes about the purpose of the sacristy. These
>and other tid bits of information may be of some value. If you would
>provide your postal address, I would be only too happy to send you a copy
>of the booklet as well as copies of the prints. The chapel print is of a
>much higher resolution than the jpg I sent you earlier. It shows in some
>detail the engravings on the roofline facie, including what appears to be a
>galley ship, circa 1400.
> I hope I am not a bother, and I definitely appreciate any attention you
>give my questions.
Thank you for your interesting e-mail.
Firstly, let me deal with the spelling of Rosslyn/Roslin.
The earldom, the castle and the chapel are spelled Rosslyn whilst the
village is spelt Roslin.
There is quite a discussion as to what is meant by the name. Some think,
it is simply the waterfall (lynn) by the wood (ross).
Others would suggest that it concerns the true blood line or the rose line
and there would seem to be a link with St Roseline
in France. The Sinclairs would invariably play on the word so that it
added to their mystique just as they took over the mantle
of that sacred place. Long before the Sinclairs arrived Rosslyn had been
the sacred centre of Pictdom and the Romans built their
Temple of Mithras there. Indeed, the Chapel stands on a sacred site and is
held in a veritable cradle of ley-lines. If one holds
a dowsing rod above the altar it spins like a helicopter blade.
Professor Lin Yun, a Buddhist who began life in a monastery when he was 6
years old, thought Rosslyn would become the
centre for World peace. My film "East meets West" shows him with the late
Michael Bentine in Rosslyn Chapel and later at
the Castle where he kept saying to me (in a rare display of excitement):
"Do you know what is under my feet?" To which, I
replied: "Yes, I know"
I would be delighted to read your friend's article which he wrote to
accompany the 17th century print of the Chapel. What
he saw was captured by Sir Walter Scott in the following verses from "The
Dirge of Rosabelle":
O'er Roslin on that dreary night
A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam;
'Twas broader than the watch fire's light,
And redder than the bright moon beam.
It glared on Roslin's castled rock,
It ruddied all the copse-wood glen;
'Twas seen from Dryden's groves of oak,
And seen from caverned Hawthornden.
Seemed all on fire that Chapel proud,
Where Roslin's chiefs uncoffined lie,
Each baron for a sable shroud,
Sheathed in his iron panoply.
Seemed all on fire within, around,
Deep sacristy and altar's pale;
Shone every pillar foliage bound,
And glimmered all the dead men's mail.
Blazed battlement and pinnet high,
Blazed every rose-carved buttress fair -
So still they blaze when fate is nigh
The lordly line of high St Clair.
There are twenty of Roslin's barons bold
Lie buried within that proud chapelle;
Each one the holy vault doth hold -
But the sea holds lovely Rosabelle!
And each Saint Clair was buried there,
With candle, with book, and with knell;
But the sea-caves rung, and the wild winds sung
The dirge of lovely Rosabelle.
Here Sir Walter Scott uses the Roslin spelling throughout.
For those who are not familiar with the story of lovely Rosabelle, it
should be explained that she lived at Dysart,
the Sinclair Estate on the other side of the Firth of Forth from Rosslyn,
and was determined to attend a ball which
was being given at Rosslyn Castle. The boatman had advised her against
attempting a crossing of the Firth on
that stormy night but she insisted because she knew that her lover, Lord
Lindsay's heir, would be there. Alas, the
boat foundered and the fair Rosabelle never got to the ball. There must be
a moral there somewhere. Girls be warned!
Don't let love over-rule commonsense.
It should also be explained that the Sinclairs were buried in full armour -
an honour usually reserved for royalty -
because the Sinclairs were the guardians of the Grail - hence the
'engrailed cross' which also encompasses the
croix pattee of the Knights Templar. It is believed that the Chapel
appears 'all on fire' whenever a Chief of the Clan
As others correspondents have been asking about a poem called "O'er
Roslin", which is really an excerpt from
Scott's "Dirge of Rosabelle", I am taking the liberty of copying this reply
to the discussion list so that they might
be able to read and, hopefully, recite Scott's masterpiece from which I
have only given the final seven verses.
Please send the article to me at:
35 Lime Grove
London W12 8EE
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