Antique guide book of Rosslyn Chapel discovered in a Berlin book shop

An antique guide book of Rosslyn Chapel which was discovered in a Berlin book shop in 1990 has been donated to the historic chapel.

The book, which was published in Edinburgh by Oliver & Boyd and J & I Johnstone, dates back to 1827 and is priced 4s 6d. 

A man who first visited Scotland in 1957 bought the guidebook in a bookshop in Berlin in 1990 and got in touch with the Rosslyn Chapel Trust to see if they would be interested in it.

It is the earliest guidebook to the Chapel owned by the Trust.

Located in the village of Roslin, just outside Edinburgh, Rosslyn Chapel the 15th century chapel was made famous in The Da Vinci Code. 

Known for its carvings and mysterious symbolism, it served as a pivotal setting in the Dan Brown book and in the film adaptation. 

The book, Historical and Descriptive Account of Rosslyn Chapel and Castle, describes the Chapel, which was founded in 1446 by Sir William St Clair.

It also depicts the nearby Castle, which was home to the St Clair family.

Credit: Rob McDougall

It includes eight engravings of the buildings, which are both in the care of Rosslyn Chapel Trust.

The guidebook will be given some conservation treatment and eventually displayed in the visitor centre. 

‘This is a wonderful acquisition and I am extremely grateful to the donor for thinking of us,’ said Ian Gardner, director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust.

‘He had first visited Scotland in 1957 and  bought this guidebook in a bookshop in Berlin in 1990.  

‘He was anxious that it was looked after, so he got in touch to see if we would be interested in having it. 

‘Many people know about the Chapel because of The Da Vinci Code but this guidebook shows that Rosslyn Chapel has attracted visitors for generations and, of course, continues to do so today. 

‘The guidebook will require some conservation treatment and will eventually be displayed in our Visitor Centre.’ 

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