Around 1980, George Russell was contemplating selling the remainder of Crossbasket Estate, perhaps prompted by seeing his brother in laws profit? Again, absent in America, I suspect he had underestimated the costs of the upkeep of such a large property or had lost interest.
The National Records of Scotland record a legal case Ref SC37/8/1980/22 where David Brainard Baxter Russell and George Russell required legal intervention to resolve a query regarding the estate boundaries and property. This was due to the fact that a new buyer PD Cochrane was interested and the missives could not be concluded until the query was sorted, showing that the 4.9 acres had been carved out and privately owned by others.
The fact that the Baxter Russell’s had only owned Crossbasket not even 4 short years and were selling up, is telling in itself. I cannot find any record of people living in the building in the years 1977 – 1980, following the closure of the training school. I think being distant from the property and the realization of what he had bought and what it would cost to maintain or renovate had truly sunk in.
By 1980, the Castle, still then known as Crossbasket House, really had started to suffer. Plumbing and electrical problems persisted in addition to the render and roughcast starting to break and fall from the building. With overgrown, weed laden gardens, rotted bridges and silt building up in the lade and reservoir, Crossbasket had seen better days. Dampness, rust and dry rot had started to creep in, and on top of it all, a leaky roof, making some of the upper rooms, not pleasant to be in at all.
Of course, even at this time, the natural beauty of Crossbasket estate itself endured. The woods continued to grow, the rivers continued to flow and the area as a whole was attracting people from nearby out walking with their dogs or ramblers interested in the area.
Unlike today, public access to the estate was easier than ever.
Waterfall at the back of Crossbasket is picture in 2008 by Jim Brown.
Extract from the book “The History of Crossbasket Castle” by Paul Veverka (c) 2015. Interested in this book? You can buy it here with free delivery: