History of Chisholme
The Beshara School at Chisholme: How it came about
Chisholme House was built in 1752. It is set in an estate of nearly 200 acres in the Scottish Borders.
For four hundred years, it was the seat of the southern branch of Clan Chisholme, but it went out of the family's possession in the early part of the 20th century.
In the 1950s the estate was abandoned and the house fell into serious disrepair. Its fortunes turned in 1973, when it was taken on by a group of intrepid young people who were looking for a suitable place for a school and retreat centre. In the true pioneering spirit of that time, they embarked on a huge renovation project, despite total lack of funds or the most basic facilities such as electricity, hot water, or even just glass for the windows. Over subsequent years, the original band of young people has grown into a steady stream of visitors, volunteers and students. With their help the once derelict estate became transformed into a suitable place for the work of the Beshara School.
Early History of Chisholme
For four hundred years, the Chisholme Estate was the seat of the Chisholme of Chisholme.
The present Chisholme House was built in 1752. In the eighteenth century it passed into the hands of Sir William Douglas of Drumlanrig then to Lord Hume. Then, when the latter fell from Royal favour, the estate was ceded to the Crown. In about 1826 Mr. William Chisholme, a member of the Selkirk branch of the family who had made a fortune in Jamaica, bought back the estate and it remained in the Chisholme family until about 1871.
Late 19th Century
At the end of the nineteenth century, it was bought by a Mr. Henderson, who added the wing, modernised the cottages, installed a new water system, including a hydraulic ram still in use for supplementing the water supply in summer, and built the road and the bridge at Woodburn.
After his death in the 1930's the estate was bought by Mr. Bruce who is still remembered in the area. In 1950 Chisholme was put on the market by Mr. Bruce's nephew, and large areas of the estate, including Parkhill and Woodburn farms, were auctioned off. From then on, due to complicated property exchanges, deaths and bankruptcies in the 1950's, Chisholme was left without a resident owner and gradually fell into decay.
The Beshara School
Consequently, when the Beshara School arrived in 1973, the house was in an advanced state of dereliction. The estate surrounding it was 112 acres, but the state of the house was such an urgent priority that 100 acres were sold to provide repair funds. However, by 1986 all the land belonging to the original Chisholme estate had been re-purchased and returned to Chisholme.
The house is listed Grade II with the Historic Buildings Council of Scotland, who supported the initial phase of the restoration.