How it all started…
Chisholme House is set in an estate of nearly 200 acres in the Scottish Borders. The house itself was built in 1752, with a further wing added in Victorian times. The estate was the seat of the southern branch of Clan Chisholme, but went out of the family's possession in the early part of the 19th century. For more details on early history see here...
In the 1950s the Chisholme Estate consisted of a Georgian country house, a farm steading, a lake, pasture and woodland. However, abandoned by its then owners it had fallen into serious disrepair. The house, open to the sky, became a shelter for sheep, the garden wall had crumbled and the grounds and woods reverted to wilderness.
Its fortunes changed for the better in 1973, when it was taken on by the Beshara Trust, an educational charity, to become a school and retreat centre. In the true pioneering spirit of that time, a group of intrepid young people embarked on a renovation project despite total lack of funds or the most basic facilities such as electricity, hot water, or even glass for the windows. Parts of the main house were made serviceable and the farm steading transformed into student accommodation so that a six-month residential retreat course could take place there in 1975.
Through Bulent Rauf an educational programme was established, firmly grounded in the principle of the Unity of Existence and drawn from the very best sources of wisdom tradition and spiritual inspiration.
Photo © Sanne Gault
In 1978 an independent Scottish charity, the Chisholme Institute, was set up with the specific aim of maintaining and developing the educational facility of Chisholme. The Institute maintains close links with the Beshara Trust to this day and collaborates with it in certain projects.
In time, and with grants and gifts and the skills of local workmen and volunteers, the interior of the house was fully restored to its original Georgian splendour; the out-buildings, garden and estate continue to be developed to this day.
Many hundreds of students have passed through the school since those early days, and countless volunteers and supporters have spent time here. Their love for the place ensures that Chisholme is kept to the highest standards not just as a school, but as a place of great beauty, maintained in line with principles of sustainability and good stewardship.
The 1960s – A revolution in consciousness
The school at Chisholme came about in response to a need, felt by many people at that time, to explore the depths of the spiritual path directly...