Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Rushton Hall Wedding and the Triangular Lodge.

Posted in Rushton Hall Wedding and Triangular Lodge, Rushton inspired Dickens's Haversham Hall by sheelanagigcomedienne on August 20, 2013

We attended a wedding in Rushton Hall Northamptonshire in August. It was for the daughter, Natalie, of our lovely friend Thandi whom we have known since the mid-seventies when she came to lodge with us when she, too, was a student. Natalie was marrying Tendai and they had made all the wedding arrangements themselves, as so many couples do nowadays. It was a lovely wedding and the band , which they had brought over from Paris, played African dance music which ensured that most of the guests got up to dance,  with a few virtuoso spots!


Rushton hallIt was commenced by Sir John Tresham and his family around 1438 who through generations, owned the hall for nearly 200 years, and was later enlarged and embellished by the Cockayne family around 1630.

The Treshams were Catholic and his grandson Francis was implicated in the gunpowder plot and was imprisoned and died there.

William Hope from Amsterdam purchased Rushton Hall in 1828 for  £140,000. He spent huge amounts of money on the hall, ‘for the purpose of fitting it up in the French fashion’ and resided at the hall in the shooting seasons only. It is said that the famous Hope diamond was stored here during his ownership. Upon his death, Miss Clara Thornhill paid £165,000. A year later she married William Capel Clarke and in 1856 both took the name Clarke-Thornhill.

Charles Dickens became a great friend of Clara Thornhill, and over the years visited Rushton many times. He conceived the idea of Haversham Hall for his novel Great Expectations whilst at Rushton.The Clarke-Thornhill family owned the hall until 1934, but after the death of William Clarke-Thornhill, the Hall was let to an array of lodgers including JJ Van Alen who loved the hall so much, he reinstated many Tudor and Jacobean architectural details at great expense.

Aerial rushtonLouis Breiitmeyer leased it in 1924. He was a German who made his fortune in South african Diamond mining. I noticed his gravestone in the churchyard nearby as we came from the wedding blessing.

The RNIB opened the hall as a school in 1957 and sold it in 2003 to H I Limited, a privately owned family business, committed to maintaining Rushton for future generations.




This is inside our bedroom window.

Window of room at Rushton   Lake at Rushton








Window and rose at Rushton











































This is taken from the grounds of tour 2nd floor bedroom window.

Our room window at Rushton


















We went to visit this intriguing building which I recalled hearing about from the irritating Dan Cruickshank on archetectural oddities. It is visible from the grounds of Rushton.

This delightful triangular building was designed by Sir Thomas Tresham (father of one of the Gunpowder Plotters) and constructed between 1593 and 1597. It is a testament to Tresham’s Roman Catholicism: the number three, symbolising the Holy Trinity, is apparent everywhere. There are three floors, trefoil windows and three triangular gables on each side.On the entrance front is the inscription ‘Tres Testimonium Dant’ (‘there are three that give witness’), a Biblical quotation from St John’s Gospel referring to the Trinity. It is also a pun on Tresham’s name; his wife called him ‘Good Tres’ in her letters.

Triangular lodge


















It has three walls 33 feet long, each with three triangular windows and surmounted by three gargoyles. The building has three floors, upon a basement, and a triangular chimney. Three latin texts, each 33 letters long, run around the building on each facade. The windows on each floor are of different designs, all equally ornate. The largest, those on the first floor, are in the form of a trefoil, which was the emblem of the Tresham family. The basement windows are small trefoils with a triangular pane at their centre. The windows on the ground floor are of a lozenge design, each having 12 small circular openings surrounding a central cruciform slit. Heraldic shields of various families surround these windows.

I think all the religious Trinity stuff is a load of bollocks but I do like the three motif and this curiosity..

Triangular doorway


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