Sir Thomas Tresham spent most of his life contemplating the four walls of a cell because of his Catholic faith and refusal to convert to Protestantism: Catholicism was being persecuted by Anglican authorities and many Catholics were imprisoned and executed under the belief that They were traitors in the service of a foreign power: The Vatican.

Possibly here his great eccentricity was born. After his release, it was discovered that his cell was covered in cryptic scribbles that none of his jailers could understand. Perhaps this was the germ of the building he would later build: the Rushton Triangular Lodge.

The construction

The Triangular Lodge is a triangular building in which all its elements, windows, sides, roofs, are tripled. There is a Latin inscription on one of the walls, on each side, three ornamental panels on each side, each with three triangles or sheaves placed on a clover (a sheet of three lobes).

It’s crazy, designed and built between 1593 and 1597 by Tresham near Rushton, Northamptonshire, England. A true obsession for number three and for Catholicism.

The Elizabethans and Jacobins liked the symbolism in their paintings and architecture, but even by their standards, this was a little exaggerated. It would be fair to say that Tresham had developed a kind of fixation on a number between two and four. His belief in the Holy Trinity, then, is represented everywhere by the number three: it has three walls 33 feet long, each with three triangular windows and three gargoyles. One wall has inscribed the ’15’, another ’93’ (was released in 1593) and the last ‘TT’.

The main room on each floor is hexagonal, leaving three spaces in the triangular corner: one of these spaces contains a spiral staircase, the other two are small rooms.

The building is crowned, above the appointments on each facade, by three steep pediments, each crowned by an obelisk with three sides at the apex.

The Lodge was the only building designed by Tresham that he saw finished before his death in 1605. Nikolaus Pevsner in his The Buildings of England: Northamptonshire states: “As a testimony of faith, this building must be seen with the utmost respect.”

The building occupies a prominent place in the novel The Voice of the Fire by Alan Moore, which deals with the life of Tresham’s son, Francis, one of those behind the gunpowder conspiracy. It also appears on the cover of the Sun Structures album, released in February 2014 by the English psychedelic band Temples.

The building is managed by English Heritage and is open from April to October. If you do not have phobia number three, you can visit. 333.

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