The Reformation

Triangular Lodge, Rushton

Tesham Lodge

Triangular Lodge, Rushton
Drawing: J.A. Gotch (1882)
Source: RIBA British Architectural Library Drawings & Archives Collection

The Triangular Lodge, Rushton, is a building like no other. Built between 1595 and 1597 by Sir Thomas Tresham (1567 -1605), this is an extremely personal building. Indeed, carved all over the building are Tresham’s initials; the many clover leaves found on shields and on top of the obelisks are part of his family crest.

But this building is also a demonstration of faith. It is well know that the three-sided building relates to the Holy Trinity – God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Each gable contains a sculpted panel: here we can see the Dove and Serpent, and the Hand of God on a globe. Elsewhere there is a pelican in her piety and the Seven Eyes of God. Many dates can be found on the building: 1580, shown here, is thought to be the date of Tresham’s conversion to Catholicism. Others are less clear in meaning: why are birds and kings’ heads hiding in the gables? Presumably all refer to God’s power: the Latin inscription here states that ‘I have reflected on your works, Lord, and am afraid.’

Gotch’s measured drawing also documents the materials used in the building, the stripy patterning of the stone courses and the textures achieved. Prepared early in his career, and published in 1922, this drawing remains a definitive record of Tresham’s imaginative building.


About the online exhibition

'How We Built Britain' is a major collaboration with the BBC


Images in the exhibition are from RIBApix, a growing database dedicated to providing you with exceptional and unique images from the RIBA British Architectural Library's collections.

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