9 December 2011

Church to sell off Rose Castle?

Rose Castle, Raughton Head (Alexander P Kapp) / CC BY-SA 2.0

proposed sell-off of Rose Castle by Church Commissioners has been deferred, giving a local steering group two years to buy the fortified house in Cumbria.

In 1648 the Grade 1-listed castle survived an attack by Cromwell's troops. Now it faces a new challenge if it is to be saved for the nation ...

After parliamentary troops damaged the building the castle was remodelled over the following centuries, though remained the seat of the Bishop of Carlisle until 2009, when it was declared 'unsuitable as a See House'.

The church's reason for selling the property is explained in a recent press release:

In reaching the decision in principle to sell Rose Castle, the Commissioners' Assets Committee, supported by their Board of Governors, considered their financial responsibilities towards their beneficiaries, and the good use to which the sale proceeds can be put. This includes funding support for Christian ministry within poorer parishes across the country.

In his Telegraph article Clive Aslet details the Church of England's recent chequered history of property management, and questions - given their estimated asset portfolio of £5.3 billion - whether the disposal of an important piece of heritage is necessary at all.

The local steering group, the Friends of Rose Castle, has finally persuaded Church Commissioners to allow them to find a more appropriate solution, after over 2000 people signed a petition in support of the campaign.

The Friends are now working with the Commissioners, English Heritage and the National Trust to try and secure Rose Castle's future. Their website (below) also contains a link to the group's Facebook profile.

Friends of Rose Castle

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