Culross and Rosslyn Chapel

Arriving in Culross is something of a surprise. The village looks across the River Forth to the petrochemical works at Grangemouth, and sits between the huge Longannet power station to the west and the derelict Low Valleyfield colliery and the disused salt pans of Preston Island to the east. 


In this industrial landscape the visitor following the brown tourist signs to Culross Palace and Abbey is probably not expecting anything very special from the village itself. Which is why what you find such a shock. Because in Culross you find the nearest thing to a 16th century time capsule anywhere in Scotland. It's as if much of the core of the village was simply frozen in time. This effect is no accident, and what you see today is in large measure the result of the work of the National Trust for Scotland over a period of more than seventy years. Highlights include the 1597 Palace, restored to its original mustard yellow render and wooden shuttered condition. It was actually more the local landowner's hall and dwelling, and still has a range of accompanying outbuildings and a "hanging garden" with wicker fences leading up the slope behind. And on the hillside above the village are the remains of Culross Abbey. 






However, what really sets Culross apart as special is the way such a large part of the village is original, with narrow wynds (including the evocative and probably once descriptive "Stinking Wynd") and stunning buildings. Here you can begin to see what a 16th century village might really have looked like. 

In 1575 a unique new pit, the Moat Pit, was sunk by Sir George Bruce from an artificial island offshore in the River Forth, and kept drained by a continuous bucket system driven by water power from a dam on the hillside. The coal was exported directly and Culross was once a very busy port. The coal was also used to provide heat for the village's second main industry, its salt pans. In the 1590s Culross produced more salt than anywhere else in Scotland. The profits produced by this trade and by the mine were used by Sir George Bruce to finance the building of the Palace. By 1750 the boom had ended. The Moat pit was flooded and destroyed in a storm in 1625, and later the stone from the pier, crucial to the village's prosperity, was removed to help rebuild the port at Leith. The fortunes of the village subsided through the 1800s, leaving, by 1900, "a decayed royal burgh containing many old houses". By the 1930s the world started to realise how special Culross was, and the NTS has been working here ever since. http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/culross/culross/





Rosslyn Chapel, formally known as the Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew, is a 15th-century chapel located at the village of Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland. Rosslyn Chapel was founded on a small hill above Roslin Glen as a Catholic collegiate church (with between four and six ordained canons and two boy choristers) in the mid-15th century. The chapel was founded by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness of the Scoto-Norman Sinclair family. Rosslyn Chapel is the third Sinclair place of worship at Roslin, the first being in Roslin Castle and the second (whose crumbling buttresses can still be seen today) in what is now Roslin Cemetery. The purpose of the college was to celebrate the Divine Office throughout the day and night and also to celebrate Mass for all the faithful departed, including the deceased members of the Sinclair family. 






After the Scottish Reformation (1560), Roman Catholic worship in the chapel was brought to an end, although the Sinclair family continued to be Roman Catholics until the early 18th century. From that time the chapel was closed to public worship until 1861, when it was opened again as a place of worship according to the rites of the Scottish Episcopal Church, a member church of the Anglican Communion.

Since the late 1980s, the chapel has also featured in speculative theories concerning a connection of Freemasonry, the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail. It was prominently featured in the 2003 bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code and its 2006 film adaptation. Rosslyn Chapel remains privately owned. The current owner is Peter St Clair-Erskine, 7th Earl of Rosslyn. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosslyn_Chapel