18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Cee's Fun Foto Challenge, Luminar, Photography

It’s a Folly

Sometimes things are complicated:

ISO 500 18mm f/11 1/320sec

This is Rushton Triangular Lodge. The fact that it’s a folly is the simplest part of the story. A folly is generally speaking an outbuilding on the property of a large estate. Generally defined as a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose. The first one I ever saw in person was actually built as a fake ruin. I read about the one pictured above and really just wanted to go see it in person like maybe it would make more sense that way.

This lodge was built in 1593, by Sir Thomas Tresham, who interpreted three knocks he heard as God telling him to build a structure to honor the Trinity. I’ll admit that part sounded a bit nuts to me. But then, looking into it a bit more, I read that he had spent 15 years imprisoned for his Catholic faith. So then, I look at this more as something he took seriously, he was Catholic and wanted a way to express that at a time when that wasn’t really allowed. He died in 1605. In that same year, his son Francis was involved and convicted of having a roll in the Gunpowder Plot. Francis, convicted of treason, would die before his execution date, he was beheaded after death and his head was publicly displayed.

The folly itself is a virtual riot of the number 3 and Catholic theology. It’s fascinating to look at from the outside, but plain and dark inside. So interesting, but I’m still not really sure about what to think about it. I’ll chalk this one up to something I still need to think about, I was glad to get to see it in person though. Have you ever felt that way, like if you go to visit a site it will then make more sense to you? Have you ever considered building an expensive building with no practical purpose? Feel free to comment below.


Added to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Letters or Numbers.


31 thoughts on “It’s a Folly

  1. The whole idea of a folly seems on the onset strange to me. I certainly wouldn’t build something like this myself. Nevertheless, I would still enjoy visiting it – and this one sure looks pretty awesome from the outside.


  2. ‘Remember, remember, the fifth of November.’ Oh those Fawkesians. People were quite cruel and merciless back then. Thank goodness we are so much more civilized now. (?!) Love follies. When I lived in Bath I would drive past Beckford Tower on Landowne Rd.


  3. This building is an absolute masterpiece of hiding one’s secret in plain sight! I don’t think Elizabeth’s spymaster actually realised its significance – otherwise Sir Thomas would have gone to the block for treason! It was a time for hiding in plain sight. John Donne and William Byrd both survived despite being under scrutiny for potential papist inclinations.


  4. Willow says:

    I’ve always wanted to go see the Winchester Mansion in California because the story behind it is interesting. Apparently the widow of the man who invented the Winchester rifle believed she was being haunted by all the people killed by said rifle and someone told her to keep building on the mansion to keep the spirits at bay. So the layout of the mansion is… interesting. I have not had the chance to go – yet.

    I have visited the Grand Canyon and it’s every bit as amazing as one is led to believe it is. I’ve been to a few other “famous” and historical places and they were… interesting but not amazing. 🙂


    • I’d not heard of the Winchester Mansion, that sounds like it would be interesting to go and look at.
      I’ve not been to the Grand Canyon, but as far as I am concerned, I will be going. It’s on the “bucket list” as people are so fond of saying these days.


  5. A building with no practical purpose, huh? Can this be considered as some sort of art, then? Since it serves as an expression of the creator?

    In any case, the visuals of this building is interesting, and I like how you captured it in this shot.

    Have a nice day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Even though it seems ludicrous to us, and probably seemed that way to his contemporaries too, so much effort went into the design and build that it must have made perfect sense to him – and that’s a sense I get with many other pieces of art too!


  7. Wow, impressive. Did you find out what the words or letters mean at the top of it? I wonder how long it took him to build it? Did he plan it all out while he was in prison and then executed each detail as he let go of that time in his life? Perhaps like a monument to his perseverance? Very intriguing, thank you for sharing.


    • Ok, so the letters are part of 3 Latin phrases, each 33 letters long, that reference Isaiah 45:8, Romans 8:35, and Habakkuk 3:2. The numbers on the building included the year construction started which was 1593. It was finished in 1597. He had been released from prison in 1593. I’m not sure when he started the plans, like during or after his incarceration, I’m unsure of that detail. It’s hard to know his exact motivation and he isn’t around to be asked, so it could be a monument to his perseverance. It is presented more as a testament to his Catholic faith, although it could be a mix of any number of things that I think would be hard to definitively prove.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the story behind that wall and your determination to go take a picture of it! Nice!!! I’ve been trying to find a few interesting locations around here, but it is more likely to be something Civil War related. It’s too bad nature has all those bugs. 😊


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