The very latest imaging technology has been used to explore the chapel

The Genealogie of the Saintclaires of Rosslyn Published by the Grand Lodge of ScotlandEdited by Brother Robert L. D. Cooper. Latin translations by Brother John Wade.£29.99 (Hardback) £18.99 (Paperback) 240 pages. Illustrated.ISBN: 0 902324 63 2

Rosslyn Chapel, Freemasonry, Scottish Freemasonry, St. Clair, Sinclair, Genealogiy of the St Clairs, Roslin, Rosslyn Hoax, Robert Cooper, Robert L. D. CooperNo one could suggest that this is light reading. For a start it has no beginning, middle or end in the commonly accepted meaning. That is because the majority of the book consists of Charters, Deeds etc. of the St Clair (or Sinclair - to read more about the various spellings click here) family which were once kept within Rosslyn Castle. There is a ‘pattern’ however, in that the charters etc. are reproduced chronologically beginning in the 11th century. Father Richard Augustine Hay (1661 – c.1736), a Roman Catholic priest, was Chaplain to the St. Clair of Rosslyn and in that capacity had access to all of the family’s papers. (Hay's father had died when he was young and his mother had married Sir James St. Clair). In order to promote the history of his new family, Hay copied every scrap of paper he could find belonging to the St. Clairs of Rosslyn and also recorded their oral traditions. In so doing he provided an enormous service for subsequent historians as the original documents that he so diligently copied were subsequently lost. Hay’s work was handwritten and must truly have been a labour of love. Hay died in 1736. In 1835 James Maidment (1795 – 1879) of the Advocate’s Library, Edinburgh, (now the National Library of Scotland) edited the manuscripts and published them as a book and it is his book which the Grand Lodge of Scotland has now issued as a second edition. Why should anyone be interested in transcripts of old papers? From a historian’s point of view this book is very important because access to Hay’s original work necessitates travelling to the National Library in Edinburgh or obtaining a copy of Maidment’s book which is very difficult as only 120 were printed. Maidment's book contains source material that is often quoted by numerous authors in support of a particular point of view. Until now it has been extremely time consuming to check whether, or not, Hay’s work has been used well or accurately. Most importantly the portions, in both the work of Hay and Maidment, which were originally in Latin have now, and for the first time, been translated into English.  The book contains a wealth of information about the linage of the St. Clairs of Rosslyn, Rosslyn Chapel, and Scottish history. The absence of any comment on certain subjects, for instance the Knights Templar, is very telling especially as these subjects are often central to the claims of a number of authors. The new introduction, by the Curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland Museum and Library, Brother Robert L. D. Cooper, concentrates on Scottish Freemasonry and its relationship with the St Clairs of Rosslyn and Rosslyn Chapel. That introduction sets the record straight on a number of important matters and it provokes one to think further on these most interesting aspects of Scottish Masonic history. The book’s importance lies not in its ‘readability’ but in its provision of source material. As this is a book, indeed the only book, to reproduce in extenso all the original family material relating to the St. Clairs, Rosslyn Chapel 'masons' etc. it is difficult to see how anyone who writes about or who claims to be knowledgeable on these subjects could be without this book. For the rest of us it is a fascinating insight, if slow read, into Scottish history as mediated through centuries of paperwork accumulated by one family. For this reason the Genealogie of the Saintclaires of Rosslyn is almost indispensable. The new introduction by Robert L. D. Cooper, Curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland Museum and Library, discusses the use to which Hay's work has been put by modern authors. In the course of that he discusses the Knights Templar, Scottish Freemasonry, and the St Clair's connections, or otherwise, with those bodies. This is not a discussion about the Knights Templar etc. per see  but is directed firmly at the Sinclair Clan's place in Scottish history. Rosslyn Chapel is one major subject that this book shed considerable light upon. The significance of William St Clair of Rosslyn (1700 - 1778) as first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland is discussed in some detail.

The book (only paperback left I'm afraid) can be purchased from the Grand Lodge Online shop -

Twelfth Edition. Hardback and goldblocked. 144 pages.
ISBN: 0-9544268-1-9. £12.50 (plus p&p) Edited by Robert L. D. Cooper, BA, FSA (Scot),Curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland Museum and Library
Published by Masonic Publishing Co.

Rosslyn Chapel, Rosslyn, books about Rosslyn ChapelLike the book: Genealogie of the Saintclaires of Rosslyn (the link will take you to a page which reviews the book and where you can order it securely on-line) which was published by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, the Illustrated Guide to Rosslyn Chapel etc. has been difficult, if not impossible, to obtain and when available on the second hand market was beyond the pocket of many. The publication of the twelfth edition of this book is, therefore, to be welcomed.

There has been so much nonsense published about Rosslyn Chapel over the last 15 years or so that it is now extremely difficult to know what is nonsense and what is accurate. This book: The Illustrated Guide to Rosslyn Chapel was the official guide book sold at the Chapel and elsewhere from 1892. It was authorised, therefore, by the then St Clair Family and was the most accurate factual account of the chapel, and the surrounding area. The book has long since ceased to be used and has been out of print for many years. It has been replaced by 'speculative' publications which emphasise a mythological approach rather than any other interpretation.

This new edition of the original guide book of Rosslyn Chapel means that, for the first time in recent memory, people can now compare what was accepted, for many many years, as the correct and accepted description of the chapel with what is available now. Such a comparison reveals some extremely interesting, and significant, differences between what was true one hundred years ago and how Rosslyn Chapel is explained today.

Of even more interest is the interpretation of the the contents of the Chapel. The reader will be able to, for example, compare what a particular stone carving originally meant and what is now said about the same stone carving.

  • Rosslyn Chapel - What is it? - A Pagan place of worship?, Masonic building? or a Jewish Temple? 
  • Why was it built, by whom and for what purpose? 
  • Who is buried in the vaults below the chapel? 
  • Green Men – What are they? - Animal, vegetable or mineral? 
  • Is the death mask of Robert the Bruce in the retro-choir? 
  • Are there carving of cactus in the chapel and if so does this prove that Scotsmen discovered America before Christopher Columbus? 
  • Was the chapel deliberately left unfinished? 
  • Who was the last Grand Master to be buried at the chapel?

All these questions and more are answered in this volume which provides immense detail about the chapel and the surrounding area.

The books does contain the erroneous claims about the St Clair family being hereditary Grand Masters etc. but these errors have been addressed elsewhere.

This book, long out of print, is a treasure chest of information written by a Priest who had intimate knowledge of the chapel. Whether you use this Guide when visiting the chapel or simply read it to learn more about this most interesting edifice it is a must for all those interested in the Rosslyn Chapel. In addition anyone interested in the history of Freemasonry (especially Scottish Freemasonry), the Sinclair (or St Clair) family and the Knights Templar ought to own this book for as much as it does not say as for what it does.

Edited by Brother Robert L. D. Cooper, Curator, of the Grand Lodge of Scotland Museum and Library.

The book can be ordered from the Grand Lodge Shop

If you prefer you may download an order form (PDF 144Kb) to order the book by mail order. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open this pdf. file. If you do not have this software installed on your computer click here for a free download .

There is also an interesting site about Rosslyn Chapel etc. at:

I know that this is not a book! But there is no convenient page (yet) available to display this item and as it is now public knowledge that it is for sale I have to advertise it somewhere! The image below is a very poor representation of the print of the West Wall of the Chapel c.1700. It appears to be a poor image because the reduction in size of the high quality original. Should you order these prints and not be satisfied with the quality then, of course, the Grand Lodge of Scotland will refund to the purchase price on return of all three prints together with the certificate of authenticity.
Image  Rosslyn Print  Rosslyn Print
 © The Grand Lodge of Antient Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland

In the last few years there has been considerable interest in Rosslyn Chapel. This interest has, in part, been created by the publication of several books (by non-Masons) that suggest that there is some link with modern Scottish Freemasonry and the Chapel. Into the mix add the Knights Templar as being in some way also associated with Rosslyn Chapel and one finds the creation of an interesting, if unsubstantiated, hypothesis.

Numerous researchers, and members of the Craft. have approached the Grand Lodge of Scotland for information on the subject and, as an initial response, it recently published An Account of the Chapel of Roslin 1778. Whilst that publication has been well received (there are now very few left for sale and a re-print is likely), it does not assist those who require visual reference material whilst others have expressed a desire to obtain an image (or images) of the Chapel suitable for display. For these reasons the Grand Lodge of Scotland is pleased to be able to offer a set of three limited edition prints relating to the Chapel and Castle of Rosslyn. These consist of two views of the Chapel and a montage of five views of Rosslyn Castle. One of the views of the Chapel, the west wall, is shown above. (Please note that the high quality engraving of the original cannot be reproduced as a small electronic image).

The considerable time, effort and research necessary to produce these prints means that these are unique items, with a commensurate value worth protecting. The print series is limited to 1000 copies and for this reason a Certificate of Authenticity has been produced to accompany each set of prints. Both will bear an exclusive serial number. The details of each purchaser will be recorded against each serial number and these details will be maintained in a register to be kept in Freemasons' Hall. This will have the effect of ensuring that the provenance of each set of prints can be assured.

To further enhance the value of the prints, minute changes have been made to each thereby differentiating them from the originals. Un-authorised copies can therefore be detected and the provenance of genuine prints guaranteed. 

Each print bears the signature of the Grand Master Mason, M. W. Archibald D. Orr Ewing, B.A.

The set of three prints are available at £39.95 (complete with certificate of authenticity). Airmail post and packing (in a strong cardboard tube) is included in the price.

These prints can be ordered via Grand Lodge's secure on-line shop at:

Please note that many sets of these prints with desirable (i.e. low) numbers have already been sold.

If you wish to obtain a particular number please enquire by e-mail and we shall do our best to assist.

There is enormous interest in Rosslyn Chapel and its alleged connections with Scottish Freemasonry, the Knights Templar and the St. Clair family. Some of the information in the public domain is interesting but much is not produced by Freemasons and very little by Scottish Freemasons.

The Grand Lodge of Scotland has produced and sells a variety of items about the chapel and related subjects. Below a few are mentioned.