During the late 1980’s, parts of the Crossbasket Woodland, were restored, by means of some tree clearance, paths cleared back to where they once had been.
If you were observant in your walks, you would have seen some modern wood carvings on the tree trunks, dating from this era, presumably done by the missionaries in the Castle.
It is unknown how much time the Rev. Peter Differ spent at Crossbasket with his “flock”. Certainly by 1988, more people had arrived to live at Crossbasket, and learn the ways and words of Christ.
1989– a small part of the estate lands was then sold by Peter on 16thMay 1989 to an undisclosed private owner, likely Lillias Grant. This left about 17 acres belonging to Crossbasket estate.
1990 – Alex Mihai had made some of the rooms habitable at Crossbasket Castle and together with his family, after 3.5 years at Crossbasket, left for his native homeland in Romania to continue his mission work there. By then, several other people had arrived to live at Crossbasket Castle, which by this time, despite their efforts, had a name for itself in nearby Blantyre, as being “a rundown religious retreat.”
1996 – Just for reference on 25thApril 1996 Lillias Grant sold off her 4.5 acres of former Crossbasket Land to another private owner. This is thought to be the east fields where formerly the tennis court was, and largely occupied by horses. In 2014, these fields were fenced off and screened from Crossbasket estate.
The Crossbasket Christian Society, under the guidance of Peter Differ, undertook a steady regime of maintenance wherever possible, but given lack of funds and shortage of manpower (or womanpower!), it slowly became a losing battle and Crossbasket Castle particularly, continued to suffer, with entire rooms closed off as unusable or permanently shut with no need to heat.
On 1stNovember 1996, LaVere Soper and his wife Elizabeth together with their friend Patrick Kelly Dobbins were made “Trustees of Crossbasket Castle” intending on continuing its function as a religious centre. There is mention of a lease being given. This arrangement signified that Peter Differ Cochrane was now absent from Crossbasket from its day to day business and it also showed the clear trust in the American couple who had lived and preached at the Castle since 1985. Cochrane may have been absent from Crossbasket long before 1996. I have to admit, given that I have not spoken with Mr. Cochrane, this paragraph needs some further clarification and openly invite him, or Mr. Soper to confirm.
In May 2004, at the age of 74, Peter Differ Cochrane set up company Sure Dwellings Trust. With himself as Director, based in Ayrshire which was still operating as recent as 2014, although was never connected to Crossbasket Castle.
An extract from “The History of Crossbasket Castle” by Paul Veverka (c) 2015
Photo: By Jim Brown
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