A Haven of Reconciliation and Peace

Rose Castle is a Place of Peace and Reconciliation

The castle has the warm feeling of a family home and it can be used for weddings, corporate away days or weekend retreats. It has off-grid technology and plenty of space.

Its homely setting hosts the Rose Castle Foundation’s programmes that equip a global network of reconcilers. These leaders are from diverse faiths and cultures and engage across differences to transform and resolve conflict.

It’s a home from home

Rose Castle is a place where people can feel at home and make the most of their time together. It is the ideal setting for weekend escapes, intimate weddings and big celebrations. It has an off-grid feeling of space, with all the modern technology you could need.

The castle was gifted by King Henry III to the Bishops of Carlisle in 1230 and was the official residence, palace and border fortress of 63 bishops. Bishop John Halton made important defensive works during hostilities with Scotland and, in the fourteenth century, Bishop William Strickland constructed the impressive 14th century Strickland Tower.

Today, it houses the Rose Castle Foundation, which hosts groups from across the world for group training in reconciliation and transforming conflict. One of the signature activities is working with Princeton students who represent different sides in a real-world conflict, such as those between Ukraine and Belarus. The experience enables participants to better understand the other’s perspective and begin the process of building trust.

It’s a place of peace

Rose castle is a place of peace, where people can come together and learn to embrace difference. It is also a place of reconciliation, where different faiths can share their stories of conflict and forgiveness. This is a remarkable feat in an age of deep divisions.

Canon Sarah Snyder has made it her life’s work to link faith purposefully to reconciliation, especially for those with bitter and long-seated conflicts. She is the founder of Rose Castle Foundation, a haven where people with different religious and political allegiances meet to learn about each other in workshop settings. They eat, socialise, relax, and share their scriptures and traditions. In this way, they re-humanise those they have only known across metaphorical or real walls.

After Boden’s group took part in a program at the castle, they wanted to keep going when they returned to Princeton. So they formed the Princeton Rose Castle Society and kept meeting over Zoom during the pandemic, with some students becoming leaders for newcomers.

It’s a place of reconciliation

In a time when our world seems increasingly divided, it’s crucial to find spaces like Rose Castle that help people overcome their differences. The former residence of the Bishops of Carlisle for 800 years is now a centre of reconciliation. Its mission is to welcome strangers across divides and re-humanise them, using scripture-formed community practice.

It was set up as a charity more than two years ago, and hosts conferences and peacebuilding work. Its goal is to become a permanent home for those seeking peace. Its rooms have been restored to combine modern convenience with unpretentious classic luxury and style.

When students return to campus, they are better equipped to have difficult conversations, whether one-on-one with friends or in groups. Naomi Frim-Abrams ’20, who took part in the 2023 trip, said she found herself more comfortable discussing sensitive issues with her classmates. She credits the experience at Rose Castle for preparing her to lead discussions in her role as president of PRCS.

It’s a place of beauty

In a time when we are surrounded by images of horror, Rose Castle is a place to come and see that beauty still exists. The castle is full of awe-inspiring architecture that reflects our history and culture. It is also a place where we can learn from the past and see how people survived tyranny and war.

The gardens at the castle are just as impressive, with yew trees, apple and pear orchards, and beautiful views. The gardens were first created by Bishop William Strickland, who planted over a thousand trees in the area surrounding the castle. He kept detailed notes about the gardens and improved them throughout the century.

When Princeton University professor Alison Boden took her students to visit Rose Castle in 2019, they wanted to continue the experience after they returned to campus. They started a group that meets every week over dinner to engage in small-group discussions on topics related to the trip. The group has stayed together throughout the pandemic, and many of the members have become leaders.

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