Final year History PhD student, Emilie Murphy, appeared on BBC 1’s Countryfile to share the findings of her research at the mysterious Rushton Triangular Lodge in Northamptonshire.
On the programme, which aired last Sunday, Emilie talked to presenter Julia Bradbury about the findings of her doctoral research on the eccentric Elizabethan politician, Sir Thomas Tresham. The programme featured Rushton Triangular Lodge, an example of Tresham’s symbolic and mysterious architecture.
Emilie explained some of the complex symbolism of the Lodge, which was built by Tresham between 1594 and 1596 and designed while he was in prison for refusing to attend the services of the nascent Church of England. The Lodge was an explicit expression of his devotion to the Holy Trinity, but beneath the surface its symbolism reveals a deep and, at the time, treasonable demonstration of Tresham’s adherence to Roman Catholicism.
During her research, Emilie discovered a piece of music associated with the Tresham family – 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. Exclusively for the programme, the York based music ensemble Les Canards Chantants performed the song in the English Heritage-owned Lodge – probably its first performance for over four hundred years. Les Canards Chantants is made up of music PhD students Graham Bier and Robin Bier along with two music undergraduates – Eleanor Dann and Simon Harper.
- The episode can be viewed via BBC iPlayer until Sunday 14 April: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01ry3dr/Countryfile_Northamptonshire/. It will also be repeated on Monday 15 April on BBC2 at 9.40am.
- For further information on Emilie’s research follow her on Twitter @EmilieKMMurphy
- Department of History