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Rosslyn Chapel is no longer obstructed by scaffolding, as a major conservation project to restore the Scottish historic site has been finished after 16 years.
In 1997 a free-standing steel structure was erected to cover the building after it was learned that repairs done in the 1950s had led to dampness and high humidity levels within the 15th century church. This allowed the stone roof to dry out naturally. Moreover, the £9.3 million restoration project also included stone and mortar repairs to the chapel’s external walls, pinnacles and buttresses, making the roof watertight, conservation of its organ and stained glass windows, the installation of a new sustainable heating system and internal lighting, and a new visitor centre.
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 an uninterrupted view of the exterior of the building, which, like the rest of the chapel, is rich in carvings and details.”
Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs added, “Rosslyn Chapel is utterly unique and is of international significance in terms of both its architecture and cultural heritage. I am delighted that Historic Scotland has been able to contribute £1.6 million towards this worthwhile project which has safeguarded the future of Rosslyn Chapel, allowing visitors from around the world to continue to enjoy it.
“The conservation work carried out on the structure over the past two decades has been extensive and painstaking and it is to the credit of everyone involved that the finished project – complete with an impressive new visitor centre – has not only conserved Rosslyn Chapel for future generations to enjoy, but allows us to see it in a whole new light.”
Rosslyn Chapel was founded in 1446 by Sir William St Clair and its building 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 chapel became widely known after the Dan Brown novel the Da Vinci Code was published in 2003, which led to tens of thousands of new visitors to the medieval site.