The stone used in the construction of the Chapel is from Doddington Quarries, Northumberland. The roof is of Ballachulish Slate. The Finial over the west door is of wrought iron and depicts a bush on which is perched a robin. Over the West door entrance are inscribed the words “Come in, Come in, Eternal Glory thou shalt win”. Words taken from Pilgrim’s Progress when Christian fought his way into the Palace of Grace.
The oak panelling throughout the chapel is from Binning Woods on the estate of the Earl of Haddington. The carving on the panels and the stalls is the work of Thomas Good of Ramsay Lane, who was responsible for much of the carving in St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall and other works in London and New York. He claimed that the oak was the most beautiful he had ever worked. The many carvings of birds and animals recall Robin’s great love of them.
The two Glastonbury chairs on either side of the altar were at one time the property of Robin’s maternal grandmother and were presented by one of his aunts as a memorial to him.
The altar is composed of Botticino and San Stephano marble resting on a base of dark green slate. On the facing panels is inscribed the prayer of King Henry VI the Founder of King’s College, Cambridge. The two vases are the work of Lydia Garth of the Glasgow School of Arts. The altar silver, consisting of the cross and a pair of candlesticks are of Sheffield Plate. The silver content is from some of Robin’s personal possessions valued by his parents for their association.
Behind the font is a portrait of Robin, by Edmond Brock. It depicts Robin as a young boy with his golden retriever. On the opposite wall in the North Aisle is the painting “Daniel Vision of the Night” by Eustache Le Sueur. The artist is unknown but is believed to be from the 18th Century Neapolitan School. The painting in the South Aisle is ‘The Adoration of the Magi’.
The wrought iron work throughout the Chapel is the work of J Finnigan of Edinburgh. The lectern is a memorial to an uncle of Robin who gave his life in the First World War.
The stained glass windows are the work of Sadie McLellan, of Glasgow and depict incidents from Pilgrim’s Progress, a good illustration of a young soldier’s life.
There are nine in all:
- Pilgrim, with his heavy burden of sin on his back;
- His rescue from the Slough of Despond;
- The Cross beyond the Wicket Gate. Pilgrim is freed from his load;
- Pilgrim is fitted for his journey with the Scroll and Armour by Piety, Charity and Prudence;
- Pilgrim is confronted by Apollyon;
- Pilgrim escaping from Doubting Castle of the Giant Despair;
- Pilgrim at his trial in the town of Vanity;
- Pilgrim in the net of the Double Faced Flatterer;
- Pilgrim at the end of his journey, being escorted to the Celestial city with the trumpets sounding on the other side;
The East window above the altar is a memorial to Robin; the centre panel at the base shows a soldier’s grave inscribed with the date of Robin’s death. On the left is the date of his birth and death. The dates on the right indicate service with his Regiment. The centerpiece above depicts the young warrior in a two horsed chariot being received by Our Saviour into heaven with an angel offering her laurel wreath to the soldier hero. In the borders either side of the main panel are inscribed the words ‘O Love I give myself to Thee’ and ‘Thine ever, only Thine to be’.
Above the West door is the organ loft and choir gallery. Along the rails fronting this area are the words by Robert Burns ‘Time but the impression deeper makes, as streams their channels deeper wear’.
The oak throughout the chapel is from Binning Woods on the estate of the Earl of Haddington. The carving on the panels and the stalls is the work of Thomas Good of Ramsay Lane, who was responsible for much of the carving in St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall and other works in London and New York. He claimed that the oak used for the Robin Chapel was the most beautiful he had ever worked.
The many carvings of birds and animals recall Robin’s great love of them – a wild cat, golden eagle, badger and owl can all be seen. A very personal detail is the pattern of Robin’s initial entwined with those of his parents and the coats of arms of Robin’s family and of the Thistle Foundation, in full heraldic colours,are displayed on the backs of the two stalls.
The long barrel-shaped ceiling boasts three bosses of oak, maintaining these themes as carved lilies, pomegranates, oak leaves and birds encircle the initials of Robin, his mother and father.
Tours for Groups/Special Interests
These can easily be arranged.
Tours can focus on :
- The Story of the Robin Chapel
- The Stained Glass
- The Wood Carvings
- The dynamic, evolving work of the Thistle Foundation with disabled people in the community
There is much of interest in the chapel for educational groups.
- Themes linked to Second World War
- Religious Buildings (worship, stained glass, wood carvings)
- The Thistle Foundation within the Craigmillar Community
- Story Telling ( the story of why the chapel and the houses in the Thistle Foundation, were built)
- RME topics
- Art and Design (Sadie Mac.Lellan’s stained glass windows on the theme of Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, wood carvings, architecture)
Please contact the Chaplain to discuss specific requirements