Sunday 13th May 2001
After much stuffing around trying to find bus timetables I finally managed to get on a bus and head down to Melrose Abbey. The Abbey is the resting place of the Heart of Robert Bruce (which was supposed to be taken to Jerusalem but the knights taking it there were attacked and killed) and one of the rumoured burial locations of Michael the Scot, a little-known 13th century sorcerer. The Abbey itself suffered the depredations of the Reformation and attacks from English soldiery and fell into disrepair.
This was also the day I really wondered if I was in Scotland. Look at the sky. I got sunburnt for godssakes!!
Monday 14th May 2001
However if you're looking for a church that has shitloads of atmosphere and volumes of historical and esoteric speculation then you can't go past Rosslyn Chapel. Built from 1446-1486 this remarkable piece of stonemasonry is all the more remarkable when you realise that this is only a portion of what was intended, ultimately, to be a large cathedral.
Speculation of connections with the Knights Templar, the repository of the "true" Stone of Destiny or of the Scrolls of the Temple have inspired numerous books (and yes I've read quite a few of them).
Contributing to these aspects are such things as the "maise window" - carvings identified as corn, a vegetable supposedly unknown to Europe until after Columbus's 1492 expedition. Also the Chapel's Masonic connections were believed to have saved it from Parliamentarian destruction at the express orders of Cromwell (himself a Mason), while Rosslyn Castle and the surrounding villages were put to the torch.
But numerous books and photos are nothing when compared to the breathtaking detail that is laid out in real life!
I returned back to the hostel for the evening and was chatting in the dining room with Jenn, Roxanna and Alic. I was mentioning some of the history of Rosslyn Chapel and Jenn mentioned some stuff about the Templars. Seems she knew quite a bit about it too. Jenn has been one of the nicer people at the hostel and we have chatted quite a lot while I've been here. She's a Quebec Canadian (though without the arrogant aspect), has some really good taste in music and tends to draw little doodles which remind me in a way of Japanese calligraphy. I've been trying to ask her about the possibility of designing a tattoo for me but no results so far.