Spring cleaning at Rosslyn Chapel

Thursday May 30th 2024

Spring Clean - Rossyln Chapel

Alex Kelly of Eden Architectural Conservation applies the finishing touches to this year’s spring cleaning programme.

Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

This year’s programme of spring cleaning at Rosslyn Chapel has included conservation maintenance to the most prominent memorial in the Chapel’s grounds.

The work has included small-scale repairs and consolidation to degraded stone, employing a museum-based approach, pointing of open construction joints in lime based hot mixed lime or ashlar mix and removal of damaging and undesirable biological growth using soft bristle brushes and a super-heated steam system. The 20ft high memorial was carved in red sandstone by W Birnie Rhind and comprises inscription panels, hood moulding, carved stones figures, carved stones, gothic pinnacles, heraldic panel, finials and a cross. The work was carried out for Rosslyn Chapel Trust by Eden Architectural Conservation Ltd, based in East Linton.

The memorial, dating from 1899, marks the burial of Francis Robert St Clair-Erskine, who became 4th Earl of Rosslyn in 1866. The 4th Earl was a renowned poet and the memorial is inscribed with words from his sonnets. He was Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on four occasions and captain of the Corps of Gentleman at Arms. In 1870 he held a Grand Masonic Fete at Rosslyn attended by over one thousand freemasons and the following year he was elected sixty-ninth Grand Master Mason of Scotland. When he indicated in the summer of 1871 that he did not wish to be considered for re-election, a petition of seven thousand signatures raised by the Lodges persuaded him to reconsider. He added the Baptistery to the Chapel in 1880-81 and died in 1890.

Rosslyn Chapel, in Midlothian, is open to visitors all year round.

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