AN “extraordinary man” who was a leading light in promoting Rosslyn Chapel to the world and reviving the fortunes of Stockbridge has died aged 83.
Robert Brydon’s passion for history endured throughout his long life, where his eye for treasure stood him in good stead as an antiques dealer.
The Portobello-born man enjoyed a varied life, combining his love of the sea with his interest in the war when he served in the Marine Craft section of the RAF during his National Service.
Mr Brydon – known to his friends as Bob – later completed a stint in the family printing business before setting up his own antiques firm in Stockbridge.
He worked hard to save St Stephen’s Street from demolition and helped to breathe fresh life into the area in the post-war years.
Mr Brydon was a founding member of the Commandery St Clair of the Grand Priory of Knights Templar in Scotland, and was also their archivist. The inauguration took place in Rosslyn Chapel in 2006. But long before this – and many years before Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code – Mr Brydon campaigned to highlight the plight of the decaying chapel to a wider audience.
He created a small exhibition of artefacts and led specialist tours of Rosslyn Chapel for many years, and was considered one of the top experts on the building, its symbolic iconography and the Sinclair family.
Mr Brydon also led a research project on the Sinclairs and their connection with Prince Henry Sinclair of Orkney, and contributed to several books on the subject.
A storyteller, a philosopher, a mystic and a historian, he was president of the Theosophical Society of Edinburgh, exploring comparative religion and “belief systems”.
He contributed his historical knowledge to several books, including Double Standards: The Rudolf Hess Cover Up, which investigated the death of Prince George, Duke of Kent in a plane crash near Dunbeath in Caithness in 1942. And he was involved in the investigation into the wrecked ship The Blessing, which sank in the Firth of Forth in 1633 carrying many of King Charles I’s priceless possessions while he was visiting Scotland on his coronation tour. When a team of Scottish and American divers set out to find the shipwreck in the 1990s, Mr Brydon supported their research and contributed to a film of the expedition.
An expert in masonic history, ancient history and ethnology, Bob’s wide scope on life also included a keen interest in the fairy and gypsy lore of Scotland. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and was a founder member of The Pictish Arts society, formed in Edinburgh in 1988.
Mr Brydon, who died in Edinburgh on May 21, is survived by his wife, Lindsay Nisbet, son Mike and brother Ian.