Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Guardian of Rosslyn Chapel

Now if I were to stumble upon a post with as its title 'the guardian of ...' (fill in the blanks: some old chapel/castle/manor house), my gothicly inclined mind would immediately think of something out of an M.R. James tale. You know the thing: ghostly guardian set to watch over some ancient treasure, a warning to the curious etc. Yummy spooky stuff.

You might also assume that the guardian who is meant here, is a member of some sort of secret brotherhood (read the Da Vinci Code, have you?) or maybe, as we're talking Rosslyn Chapel and its alleged Mary Magdalen connection, even some sort of angelic protection. 

You are going to be sorely disappointed.  

When Fab and I finally went on a trip to Scotland together last year (after having discussed it for only, say, 10 years or so*), we both agreed a visit to Rosslyn Chapel was an absolute must. Its many mysteries had long intrigued us. Even in the era B.D. (Before Dan).

It was therefore with considerable excitement that we finally entered the magic temple, ready to take all of its wonders in.

We gave said wonders our undivided, awe-struck attention for a full 45 seconds.
Then we spotted him.

Curled up into a solid ball of black fur, a cat was fast asleep on one of the benches along the outer walls. Despite all the clanging and banging that was going on outside due to the restoration work, he was obviously in a deep, deep slumber. Might have had something to do with the fact that, in true feline fashion, he had secured the best spot in the house for himself: a comfy cushion right underneath a big heater lamp. Clever kitty. It was bloody FREEZING rather nippy in there.

And so it was that we met William, the Rosslyn Chapel Cat.

Picture not taken by me but found here.

William, a handsome black tom with a white bib and a couple of white socks, lives close to the chapel and saunters in at every possible opportunity. He likes to stroll around and find a good place to position himself in, either for a nice nap or for his daily dose of admiring glances and sweet sweet love from chapel visitors. I think I want to be him in my next life.

If the builders of Rosslyn had envisioned to create a temple for the brotherhood of man, they would have been mightly pleased with The William Effect. Fab and I had not really been able to connect with the rest of the people on the tour yet, a group of rather shy and introvert Chinese people. Now we were all exchanging delighted smiles and nods, and murmured words of appreciation to each other. And we took it in turns to shower our attentions on William doing his Sweet Sleeping Kitty routine.

We only managed to pull ourselves away from the furry object of our affection when the next batch of admirers was queuing up to be allowed admission to him. A big burly Irishman then scooped him up, cooed sweet nothings into a fluffy ear, and subjected him to vigorous strokes. Yep, I really want to be that cat.

Oh well. Back to the chapel itself.

Yes it is gorgeous. It is mysterious. It is splendiferous**. You should all go.

My most lasting memory of the place is obvious though.

To me, William, self-appointed Guardian of Rosslyn Chapel, is definitely part of its magic. May he guard it for many years to come.

Again, picture not taken by me but found here.

Pictures of Rosslyn Chapel are stock photos from Shutterstock.
I was a good girl and did not take photographs inside the chapel cos it wasn't allowed.

* Bit of a recurring theme for us but we're working on it.

** Always wanted to use that word in a sentence.


  1. What a phantastic story!! And what a great cat!!

  2. Isn't he gorgeous?? Especially gorgeous to me as he is a dead ringer (apart from the white socks) for my darling Doppie who lived to the very respectable age of 21. Doppie would so have been capable of doing a thing like this too - a truly remarkable cat!

  3. i was there 3 days ago and got the most awsum pic of william..sat and posed for me..a stunning cat :D

    1. Oh I'm glad to hear he's still there and thriving! He's such an amazing cat...
      Thanks for sharing that with me! ;-)

  4. William sat on my lap for a good half of the guide's talk. We ran into all sorts of trouble with the seat runner... Lovely fellow.

  5. Met William this summer.��
    Definitely adds to the magic!! ��

  6. William is still happy and guarding the chapel - met him today ☺

  7. We stayed at Collegehill House (the building next to the Chapel, which the Landmark Trust hire out as a holiday let) a few years ago and William was a regular visitor at the kitchen window most evenings. He also has his own range of gifts in the gift shop!


Thanks for stopping by! I do love comments, so please don't be shy and share your thoughts.