Bellshill man who cracked ‘The Da Vinci Code’ has died

Tommy Mitchell spent 27 years studying the carvings at Rosslyn Chapel
Tommy Mitchell spent 27 years studying the carvings at Rosslyn Chapel

A former Bellshill man whose groundbreaking work helped unlock a secret musical code hidden in the walls of Rosslyn Chapel has died.

Tommy Mitchell passed away at the age of 85 after a year-long battle with bowel cancer less than four months after son Stuart also died following a similar illness.

The father and son duo hit the headlines in 2005 for deciphering musical cymatics carved into the ceiling of Rosslyn Chapel, made famous in The Da Vinci Code.

However, Mr Mitchell was also a well-known member of Edinburgh’s jazz scene, having moved to the capital after serving with the RAF in Iraq.

He was taught to play piano by musician Alex Shaw and turned professional after being made redundant by Scottish and Newcastle breweries.

Mr Mitchell’s son Ally said: “He had so many artistic pursuits. He was a musician, a painter, a poet, he was always doing something artistic.”

It took Mr Mitchell 27 years of painstaking study to discover the pitches and tonality of rectangles and cubes adorning arches on Rosslyn Chapel ceiling – dubbed “frozen music”.

He later wrote the book ‘Music of the Cubes,’ providing a unique insight into the hidden symphonies contained within the carvings at the historic building.

The process was covered in a 2005 documentary broadcast on the Discovery Channel in the United States – an updated version of which is due for release early next year.