Introduction

Welcome to the newly designed Rosslyn Templar web site. The original site went online in 2002 using free templates and software. There is no doubt that the original site was showing its age. As we have now long since had one million visitors it was decided that it was time to ‘freshen-up’ the site. We hope that you like the end result.

The down side is that whilst the site has undergone a complete redesign little new material has been added partly because of thetime it took to transfer the material on the old site to the new one. No doubt there will be some teething problems over the next couple of months but as well as that it is our intention to add the material we would normally have been adding to the old site. All this will take a wee while so please be patient – remember that this site is run, maintained and paid for by a very small number of volunteers.

The Apprentice Pillar

The Apprentice Pillar

It is perhaps important to make clear some facts about this web site, so that no one is misled or mistaken as to its purpose and function. The Rosslyn Templars is a small group of Scottish Freemasons dedicated to researching Rosslyn Chapel. The group is self-funding and is entirely independent of any other group whatsoever. Therefore, although all members are Freemasons they do not act for, or represent any other group of Freemasons. Nor do they have any connection with any particular branch of Freemasonry such as the Scottish Masonic Knights Templar whose governing body is the Great Priory of Scotland. This decision was made in order to maintain a strict independence from any other Masonic organisation.

In order to make available the research conducted by the Rosslyn Templars to a larger audience it was decided soon after being formed to have a web site. This went online in 2002 with one specific aim in mind – to investigate Rosslyn Chapel and all the subjects which have come to be associated with it – such as Freemasonry, more particularly Scottish Freemasonry, the Knights Templar and book reviews on relevant subjects. The primary intention was to place the chapel in its historical and ecclesiastical context by providing relevant material (old and new) and then to analyse and discuss that material in an attempt to bring some clarity to the subject. The first step was to gather information about all the collegiate churches in Scotland and compare and contrast them with Rosslyn Chapel such as Crichton, Dunbar and Seton to name but a few. The initial task of identifying them and collating brief information on each was relatively straightforward and has been provided in tabular form as a comparison table. That table provides brief details of all the collegiate churches in Scotland and links to separate illustrated pages about each church.  Whilst the comparison table is complete, page details of all Scottish collegiate churches are still being created. Of the 42 collegiate churches separate pages are available for 23. The delay in completing this project has been caused by a number of problems. For example, the decision to use photographs taken by members of the Rosslyn Templars.

Other matters relevant to Rosslyn Chapel such as Freemasonry, the St. Clair family, the Knights Templar (as examples) were thought too important to be ignored and ought to be added to the site thereby delaying other parts of the site. The frequency of publication of books about Rosslyn Chapel was something never anticipated and came as something of a surprise. This phenomenon is a subject worthy of examination in its own right and a first step has been to list books which consider Rosslyn Chapel and Freemasonry. As mentioned elsewhere this modern phenomenon began as long ago as 1982 and shown no sign of abating. The Da Vinci Code (2003) is a fairly recent example (albeit a work of fiction) and The Rosslyn Hoax? (2006) is one of the latest works of non-fiction.

However, the main problem was and remains the success of the site. A nice problem to have we admit, but the sheer number of enquires on a whole host of different subjects made serious demands on our time – time we never anticipated spending. We have tried to deal with as many queries as possible but with the best will in the world there is a limit to what a handful of people can do. To all those people out there who have sent e-mails and received no reply – we apologise. It has not been deliberate but we receive far more e-mails than we can cope with. It was thought that one solution to the problem would be to set up pages devoted to particular subjects such as those on the Knights Templar, the St. Clair (Sinclair) family, book reviews and much more besides. All that did was increase the number of visitors asking even more questions on subjects not previously covered by this site!

What then was the reason this site was created in the first place? It was created in 2002 as a direct response to the amount of material being published in the public domain about Rosslyn Chapel, Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, St. Clair family etc. Unfortunately, much of this discussed Freemasonry third hand, that is, by people who were not Freemasons and often almost as if Freemasonry did not exist in the modern era. This web site therefore has another subsidiary purpose – to have some Masonic input to the debate about Rosslyn Chapel and subjects which have come to be associated with that structure especially Freemasonry.

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel

However, the creation of the group known as the Rosslyn Templars and its web site was no ‘knee jerk’ reaction to the writing of non-Freemasons on Freemasonry. The interest of non-Masons was created (certainly in the modern era) a little over 20 years ago with the publication of the book: The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail (1982) by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln but interest was dramatically increased with the publication of: The Temple and The Lodge (1988) by the same authors (minus Lincoln). That book was the first to argue (in great detail) that there was a link between Rosslyn Chapel and Freemasonry. These books spawned a large number of others on a similar theme. Interest in Rosslyn Chapel increased again with the publication of the novel: The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (2003). The film by the same title was released on 19th May 2006 increased, yet again, visitor numbers enormously. The film did not do too well at the box office but it, together with the release of film on DVD on 16th October 2006, has had a further impact on the chapel. An example of this is that on 16th November 2006 Rosslyn Chapel Trust was forced to advertise for more guides to escort the increasing num