Key to the Sacred Pattern

08 January 2008

The Debate over the Rosslyn Motet Heats Up

Over the last few weeks, there’s been an interesting exchange happening in the comments section of BS Historian’s article "Rosslyn Chapel’s Musical Cubes Silenced?" For those of you not familiar with the article or the comment thread, there are some serious questions about Stuart Mitchell’s Rosslyn Motet by BS Historian and Jeff Nisbet. The basis of the detractors from the Motet is that an 1860’s restoration team replaced a great number of cubes in Rosslyn Chapel. This theory is supported by lithographs done in 1837 by Samuel Dukinfield Swarbreck. In these lithographs, Swarbreck depicts a great number of missing cubes from the ceiling at Rosslyn.
This would mean that the basic theory behind the Rosslyn Motet is not accurate. The Mitchell’s theory behind the Motet is that the Sinclair family encoded the cubes with Chladni patterns to conceal a piece of music. What happens to the basic premise if cubes were added in the at a later date?
This isn’t the first time Mitchell’s work has been brought into question. A number of folks, myself included, have come out and expressed their doubts about the Motet. Here’s a run down of articles that present alternate view points on the matter:
  • Jeff Nisbet’s article The Rosslyn Motet expressed issues with the history of the Cubes, in relation to the Motet, and inconsistencies in the news stories related to the Mitchells.
  • Researcher and writer for the Fortean Times, Brian Allen ask me to post an open letter that questions whether the Sinclairs would have had access to technology that would have allowed them to have discovered a Chladni pattern, let alone encode the cubes with them.
It would seem that Stuart Mitchell has responded to some of BS Historian and Jeff Nisbet’s arguments in the comments section of Rosslyn Chapel’s musical cubes silenced? Mitchell’s comments are comments 11,12, and 15. It would seem that, other than the use of the incomprehensible phrase Mr. Muskateerwang, Mitchell doesn’t give an answer to the central question.
Mitchell’s comments on the 1860’s restoration and the Swarbreck lithos are, “You say the cubes have been ‘re-arranged’? And are not in the order first presented in 1446 and your evidenced,(taken from Lithographs which are artworks and artistic interpretations) is this?? WHO WOULD RE-ARRANGE THEM???? This chapel had a BLUEPRINT, look at the design, detail and infrastructure. There was a plan and any restoration would naturally stick to the original…WHO would NOT STICK TO the original designers intentions??”

Wouldn’t this mean that the 1860’s restoration team would be privy to the Sinclair’s original design and intent? That would mean that there was someone out there that, at least up to 1860, knew the keys to unlock the architectural and design secrets of the Chapel. If that’s the case, I’d love to see a write-up on how that came about and who was in the "know".

Now there would be another interesting twist to debate over the Motet. Jeff Nisbet posted on 6 Jan 08, as comment 20 in the thread, that all the cubes in the Swarbreck lithos appear to be the same. So there might not be any mystery attached to the cubes at all. If the original design of the cubes was identical, there could be nothing coded in the cubes by the original architects of the Chapel.
I would urge you to read the threads and articles posted above in full and form your own opinion. Jeff and Historian have brought up a number of points that need to be answered if the world is to accept the Motet as the final answer to the Rosslyn Cubes.

No comments: