Rushton Triangular Lodge

Nov 5, 2020 0 comments

The Triangular Lodge near Rushton, in Northamptonshire, England, is an unusual building. This three-sided house was built in the late 16th century by Sir Thomas Tresham, a devout Catholic, as a way of expressing his faith. The number three, symbolizing the Holy Trinity, is apparent everywhere, from the triangular shape to the use of the trefoil window designs, to the number of floors, the various dimensions and symbolic letters, dates, and numbers which are all multiples of three.

Rushton Triangular Lodge

Photo: Awe Inspiring Images/

Thomas Tresham, grand prior of the order of St. John in England, was the eldest son of John Tresham of Rushton. The family owned large estates in Rushton and Lyveden which he inherited from his grandfather at the age of fifteen, establishing him as a member of the Catholic elite. He served as sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1573 and was knighted at the Queen's Royal Progress at Kenilworth in 1575. Tresham’s connection with Jesuits and his recusancy made his a threat to Protestants and he was frequently imprisoned and fined for his religious affiliation. It was during his prolonged captivity that Sir Thomas formulated the idea of making a covert declaration of his faith.

On his release in 1593, Tresham began designing the triangular lodge as something of a shrine dedicated to his long suffering. The result was this small, colourful house adorned with dates, emblems, biblical passages, shields and skillfully carved gargoyles. The symbolism is apparent throughout the entire building, and all features relate to the Holy Trinity and the Mass. On the three walls, there are three windows on each of the three floors, three roof gables, and even a triangular chimney adorned with trefoils, which was the emblem of the Tresham family.

Rushton Triangular Lodge

Photo: Daderot/Wikimedia Commons

The three sides of the building are emblazoned with three different quotations, each 33 letters long in Latin texts.

The quotations are:

  • Aperiatur terra & germinet Salvatorem: "Let the earth open and … bring forth salvation" (Isaiah 45:8)
  • Quis separabit nos a charitate Christi?: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" (Romans 8:35)
  • Consideravi opera tua, Domine, et expavi : "I have contemplated thy works, O Lord, and was afraid" (Habakkuk 3:2)

Inside the house are three hexagonal room, one on each floor, thus leaving the three corner spaces triangular. One of these spaces contains a spiral staircase, the remaining two are small rooms.

Tresham died in 1605. After his death, his son, Francis, became involved in the unsuccessful Gunpowder Plot to assassinate King James I. Francis was executed for his part in the plot, meeting his death in December 1605, just three months after his father.

Rushton Triangular Lodge

Photo: Neil Alexander McKee/Flickr

Rushton Triangular Lodge

Photo: Nick Richards/Flickr


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