Photos and the City

destination photography & travel

Walking through Peebles in the Scottish Borders in Scotland, what a lovely little town.

On my way back from Rosslyn Chapel to Galashiels, I made a little stop in Peeples, a lovely town in the Scottish Borders. Originally a market town Peebles played an important role in the woollen industry of the Borders during the 19th and early-20th centuries. But the mills closed down in the mid-1960s and most people work in and around Edinburgh or in tourism.

Cross Kirk

I made my way from the High Street towards Cross Kirk, an ancient holy site standing in a slightly wooded enclosure in a quiet residential area near the centre of Peebles.

Walking through Peebles in the Scottish Borders in Scotland, what a lovely little town.

Founded by the Trinitarian order in the late 1100s. In 1261 a cross and relics of St Nicholas of Myrna were discovered hidden here. It is unknown how the relics made their way to Scotland but after the discovery, a few miracles happened. As a result, a priory was founded by the king and in 1474 increased to that of a monastery with a new bell tower.

The Reformation of 1560 brought an end to Cross Kirk’s existence as a monastery and thereafter it served as the parish kirk, replacing St Andrew’s Church, which had been burned down by the English in 1548. In 1656 the church was shortened, with the old choir being turned into a schoolroom. (Undiscovered Scotland)

Walking through Peebles in the Scottish Borders in Scotland, what a lovely little town.

But a new parish church was built and Cross Kirk was abandoned in 1784. The domestic buildings had been dismantled for the stones and in the late 1800s, Cross Kirk was described as a ruin.

Today the Historic Environment of Scotland cares for Cross Kirk and it is free to visit all year round.

Walking through Peebles in the Scottish Borders in Scotland, what a lovely little town.

Peebles

Walking through Peebles in the Scottish Borders in Scotland, what a lovely little town.

I made my way back towards the centre of Pebbles.

Walking through Peebles in the Scottish Borders in Scotland, what a lovely little town.

On the way, I came by a chocolate café and shop called “Cocoa Black” and run by UK World Chocolate Master Ruth Hinks and definitely worth a visit. The dark hot chocolate was amazing!

Walking through Peebles in the Scottish Borders in Scotland, what a lovely little town.

The old parish church in the back on the other side of the river and (below) the view over Pebbles from the church.

Walking through Peebles in the Scottish Borders in Scotland, what a lovely little town.

Walking through Peebles in the Scottish Borders in Scotland, what a lovely little town.

Back at the High Street, I spend the time until my bus came with strolling around the local shops.

Walking through Peebles in the Scottish Borders in Scotland, what a lovely little town.

This morning I decided to board one of the Scottish Borders buses in a different direction, towards Edinburgh. After about a one hour journey I got out near Roslin and walked towards the famous Rosslyn Chapel.

Visiting the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh in Scotland, featured in Dan Browns thriller Da Vinci Code

Founded in the mid-15th century on a little hill by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness Rosslyn Chapel became even more famous after playing an important part in Dan Brown’s thriller “The DaVinci Code” and the movie with the same name. Is the Holy Grail really hidden at Rosslyn Chapel?

Rosslyn Chapel is privately owned by Peter St Clair-Erskine, 7th Earl of Rosslyn.

Rosslyn Chapel 1

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

Visiting the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh in Scotland, featured in Dan Browns thriller Da Vinci Code

Architecture

The original plan was to built a cruciform but it was never completed, today we only see the “head” of the cross.

Only the choir was constructed, with the retro-chapel, otherwise called the Lady chapel, built on the much earlier crypt (Lower Chapel) believed to form part of an earlier castle. The foundations of the unbuilt nave and transepts stretching to a distance of 90 feet were recorded in the 19th century. The decorative carving was executed over a forty-year period. After the founder’s death, construction of the planned nave and transepts was abandoned – either from lack of funds, lack of interest or a change in liturgical fashion. (Wikipedia)

Rosslyn Chapel stands on fourteen pillars with the “Apprentice Pillar” as the most famous one. The stonework in the chapel is masterfully carved and the master mason had planned to carve this pillar himself. But when he arrived at Roslin his apprentice had already finished the pillar. The legend says that the mason was so jealous of the work that he killed the apprentice.

The chapel and the crypt have been a burial place for generations of the Sinclairs, but the crypt had been sealed off for many years and the entrance to the crypt isn´t known any more.

Visiting the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh in Scotland, featured in Dan Browns thriller Da Vinci Code

In 1842 the chapel, then in a ruined and overgrown state, was visited by Queen Victoria, who expressed a desire that it should be preserved. Restoration work was carried out in 1862 by David Bryce on behalf of James Alexander, 3rd Earl of Rosslyn. The chapel was re-dedicated on 22 April 1862, and from this time, Sunday services were once again held, now under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Episcopal Church, for the first time in 270 years. (Wikipedia)

In 1995 the Rossyln Chapel Trust was established to oversee its conservation and its opening as a sightseeing destination. Between 1997 and 2013 the chapel was extensively renovated and restored including works on the roof, the windows, heating, the carvings and the organ.

Visiting the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh in Scotland, featured in Dan Browns thriller Da Vinci CodeVisiting the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh in Scotland, featured in Dan Browns thriller Da Vinci Code

The Holy Grail at Rosslyn Chapel

Speculations of a connection between Rosslyn Chapel and the Knights Templar started in the 1980s and went a little bit wild after Dan Brown’s thriller “The DaVinci Code” & the film of the same name with Tom Hanks in the leading role. Numerous books were published to prove Brown’s fictional theories that the Holy Grail might be stored at the chapel or that the chapel is an important part of the legend.

Many Templar symbols are said to be found in the carvings and members of the Sinclair family were members of the Freemasons.

Whatever the truth may be the legends helped to bring many visitors to Rosslyn Chapel.

Visiting the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh in Scotland, featured in Dan Browns thriller Da Vinci Code

Rosslyn Chapel is a wonderful place to visit but also a quite busy one – don´t get fooled by the empty pictures, I was just very patient. I didn´t spend a lot of time inside the chapel, it was just too crowded! It is also forbidden to take pictures inside the chapel.

Visiting the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh in Scotland, featured in Dan Browns thriller Da Vinci Code

After my visit, I walked through Roslin back to my bus stop.

Visiting the beautiful Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh in Scotland, featured in Dan Browns thriller Da Vinci Code