The bizarre landmark built by a man obsessed with number three


Leaving an unmarked country lane in the heart of Northamptonshire could see you land in front of one of the county’s most distinctive landmarks.

Just as imposing as Althorp House or Delapre Abbey but a little smaller, the Triangular Lodge has been around for over 400 years.

An unusual piece of history, the Grade I Madness was devised by Sir Thomas Thresham, a household name perhaps best known as the father of one of the men behind the failed gunpowder plot. cannon aimed at detonating King James I and Parliament in 1605.

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Architect and landowner from Northamptonshire, a glance at his lodge leaves no doubt about his particular fascination – number three.

The triangular lodge is an impressive legacy of Thresham’s deep devotion to his Roman Catholicism and to the Holy Trinity in particular.

Built in 1597, it is the ultimate expression of rebellion at a time when Catholicism was illegal, and a period that saw him fined and imprisoned again and again for refusing to attend the services of the ‘Church of England.

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The impressive triangular pavilion

And while construction on the lodge began in 1593, the idea of ​​insanity began before that when, while in prison, he began his plans to create a declaration of faith after covering his prison cell with letters. , numbers and symbolic dates.

Not only does it have three sides, each 33 feet long, but there are also three floors at the lodge, three gables on each side topped with three gargoyles, and three trefoil windows on each wall – a shape made up of three overlapping rings used in Christian symbolism.

Each floor itself takes the form of a hexagonal piece, in turn leaving three triangles in each corner.

And if that wasn’t enough, the inscription on the facade of the building – ‘Tres Testimonium Dant – translates to the biblical quote’ there are three who bear witness’.

Along with its biblical significance, however, there is a more personal touch that Thesham conceived of when he thought of his family. With ‘Good Tres’ also his wife’s nickname for him, it seems he enjoyed a good pun as well.

The number three is significant in Catholicism in many ways and is repeated in the scriptures – for example, Jesus fell three times while carrying the cross, there were three crosses on Calvary Hill and he was buried but rose from the dead the third day.

In addition to the Triangular Lodge, Thresham, also known as Thomas the Builder, is best known for his larger and more mysterious construction project found at Aldwinkle.

The half-built Elizabethan lodge at Lyveden New Bield is an unfinished summer house now owned by the National Trust. The Category I building is classified as a building of exceptional interest, remaining largely in the same condition as it was 400 years ago when it was constructed.

Although the reason why it was never completed is still unknown to this day, the remarkable building and surrounding estate of Lyveden have also become a popular local attraction.

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