Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Rosslyn Chapel revamp work finished after 16 years

Rosslyn Chapel
Image caption Stone and mortar repairs have been carried out on the building's carved walls

Work at a medieval chapel in Midlothian, which featured in the Da Vinci Code blockbuster film, has finally been completed after 16 years.

Rosslyn Chapel is free from scaffolding for the first time since its major conservation project began in 1997.

Work to the chapel, which is Category A-listed, was instigated after a report in 1995 warned of damage to the stonework because of dampness.

In March 1997, a steel structure was erected to cover the building.

The structure allowed the stone roof to dry out naturally, and this remained in place until summer 2010.

Since then, stone and mortar repairs have been carried out on the chapel's external walls, pinnacles and buttresses.

Image caption The privately owned chapel continues to be a working church

The roof has now been made watertight, the stained glass windows have been fixed, a new sustainable heating system has been installed, the organ has been restored, internal lighting has been renewed and a new visitor centre has opened.

Ian Gardner, Director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: "This is a great moment as the far-sighted conservation project in the chapel comes to an end and the scaffolding, which had become a near permanent feature, has all been removed.

"For the first time since 1997, visitors can now enjoy a clear and uninterrupted view of the exterior of the building, which, like the rest of the chapel, is rich in carvings and details."

Image caption The stonework has attracted visitors to the chapel for generations

Rosslyn Chapel was founded in 1446 by Sir William St Clair and it took 40 years to complete.

The chapel is still privately owned by the Earl and Countess of Rosslyn and continues to be a working church, with its congregation part of the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The mysterious symbolism of the chapel's ornate stonework has attracted visitors for generations although the chapel came to prominence after featuring in Dan Brown's novel, the Da Vinci Code, which was published in 2003.

As a result of interest in the book and subsequent film, annual visitor numbers rose to 176,000 and income from visitors has helped to fund the conservation project.

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