Saturday, October 09, 2010

Rushton Triangular Lodge, Northamptonshire

click photos to enlarge
When I read of the fabulously wealthy - the Bill Gates and Warren Buffets of this world - giving away a quarter or half of their fortune I can't help but think of the story of the widow's mite. Similarly, when I visit a building such as the one shown today, the Triangular Lodge at Rushton, my mind turns to the mass of the people of the time it was built whose lives consisted of quiet desperation as they struggled from one meal to the next, one year to the next: people who must have watched the labour, materials and expense involved in the construction of this rich man's whim, and wondered how their lives could be transformed if they only had a fraction of what he spent on his impulsive vision.

The Lodge was built in the grounds of Rushton Hall in 1594-6 by Sir Thomas Tresham. He was a Roman Catholic who had been imprisoned for his faith, and upon regaining his freedom had the building constructed as an assertion of his Catholicism. Its supposed purpose is to provide a base for the warrener who managed the rabbit warrens on Sir Thomas' estate. In fact, it is a tribute to the Holy Trinity, and at every turn the Lodge incorporates the number three. Thus, it is three sided, each side being 33 feet long (echoing Christ's age when he died); it has three floors; each side has three gables; three leaved trefoils abound (as in the surrounds of the upper floor windows); triangles appear everywhere (e.g. in the window "tracery"); etc. Many other "conceits" and codes can be found liberally adorning the exterior. For example, above the door is 5555 which may be a date. Or it could be a reference to the number of years between the conception of the Lodge (1593) and the contemporary belief  of the date the world was created - 3962 BC.

The main rooms of the three floors of the Lodge are hexagonal with two small triangular rooms/cupboards filling two of the corners, and a spiral staircase occupying the third. Whether the warrener used the building for its intended purpose is not known. It may, in fact, have been used for clandestine religious services, or simply as a pleasant destination to which the family of the great house walked, and where they spent time. The Triangular Lodge is now in the care of English Heritage and can be visited (for a small charge) by the public. On my visit I took several photographs. These three give a feel of the building.

photographs and text (c) T. Boughen

(Main photo)
Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 16mm (32mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On