Rosslyn Chapel , near Edinburgh , Scotland has long been associated with the Knights Templar , an ancient order going back to the days of the Crusades.
In the 12th century the grand master of the order was married to Katherine St Clair and two of the grand masters in the 13th and 14th centuries were members of the St Clair family. When the order was persecuted by the Pope in the early 14th century, some of the Knights escaped to Scotland (where Robert the Bruce had been excommunicated and so did not proscribe the order). The chapel features as a key location in the film the daVinci code based on the the book by Dan Brown . Rosslyn Chapel was founded in 1446 by Sir William St Clair, the third and last Prince of Orkney. The chapel took 40 years to build and was originally planned to be part of an even larger building. Sir William drew the design of the chapel and the ornate carvings on timber boards which the masons then copied. The Chapel has been described as a Bible in stone because of the large number of religious symbols and images featured in the stonework . There are numerous examples of ” Green Men” throughout the building .
A number of the carvings at Rosslyn have Templar or Masonic connections and a sealed vault in the Chapel is said to contain religious relics – everything from the holy grail to the skull of John the Baptist have been suggested. Now a group of modern Knights Templar want to survey the vault using hi-tech radar scanner to create a three dimensional picture of the contents. Of course, they still have to get permission from the trustees of Rosslyn Chapel and they are concerned about conservation of the ancient monument.