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BBC Countryfile: Rushton Triangular Lodge

Posted on 10 April 2013

History PhD student, Emilie Murphy, on BBC1’s Countryfile to share the findings of her research at the mysterious Rushton Triangular Lodge, Northamptonshire

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Emilie Murphy was invited on the popular Sunday evening programme, which aired on 7 April 2013, to talk to Julia Bradbury about the findings of her doctoral research on the eccentric Elizabethan politician, Sir Thomas Tresham. Tresham is known for his symbolic and mysterious architecture and as part of Countryfile’s episode on Northamptonshire, Emilie was asked to explain some of the complex symbolism of Rushton Triangular Lodge. The Lodge was built by Tresham between c.1594 and c.1596 and designed whilst he was in prison for refusing to attend the services of the Church of England. The Lodge was an explicit expression of his devotion to the Holy Trinity, but beneath the surface the symbolism reveals a deep and treasonable demonstration of his adherence to Roman Catholicism.

In the course of her research, Emilie discovered a piece of music associated with the Tresham family and it is the last words of a Catholic priest, executed for treason in the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot.  Like the Lodge, the four-part song also contains numerical symbolism for the Trinity as well as visual symbolism of notes in the shape of a Cross. As part of the episode, York based music ensemble Les Canards Chantants exclusively performed this subversive song within the Lodge – perhaps its first performance for over four hundred years - revealing a potential and hitherto unknown use for the English Heritage site.

The episode can be viewed via BBC iPlayer until Sunday 14 April: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01ry3dr/Countryfile_Northamptonshire/