Architecture isn’t normally seen as a form of protest, but Rushton Lodge is exactly that. In particular it is a spiritual protest against anti-Catholic ordinances in Early Modern England, and expression of Catholic orthodoxy.
The building is triangular in its design. It was built by Sir Thomas Tresham, the father of one of the Gunpowder Plotters. He had it built from 1593 to 1597. It is a symbolic expression of a belief of the Holy Trinity. The number three is therefore represented throughout. It has three floors, and three triangular gables on each side. The entire structure is three sided as well with each wall measuring 33 feet, with three triangular and trefoil windows on each wall. The front entrance bears the slogan “Tres Testimonium Dant” [“There are three that give witness”] which is drawn from I John 5:7.
While Wikipedia notes the Lodge as a folly, it is far from it. It is, in fact, a great statement of the faith of its builder.
It is a truly fascinating place to visit, and the more you explore, the more symbols you can discover. There is a small English Heritage reception and shop on site, and there are some snacks available in the shop, and space for picnics on the grounds. Parking is a bit of an issue, and there is no car park, but only a narrow lay by on the street opposite the site.
English Heritage Link
When I visited Tilbury Fort, I found it an interesting experience with a few surprises. The fortifications themselves are impressive, and they offer great views of The Thames, Gravesend, and Tilbury. The Water Gate (ceremonial gate) is very grand, and the empty plinth was intended for a statue of Charles II, but even without it is is a great piece of architecture.
The fortifications date back to the time of Henry VIII, and underwent their first upgrade during the Spanish Armada scare of 1588. They played some role in the English Civil War, and following the Dutch raids in the post-Restoration period they were upgraded again to the star-bastioned fort of today. That was not the end, however, as the fort was used as a river defense as late as the Second World War.
The barracks, gun emplacements and bastions give a feel for the wide range of history the site has been involved in. 18th Century guns are backed up onto modern (WW2) gun positions, giving a feel of the changes.
On the day I attended there were reenacters on site as well. It was a great learning experience.
The ramparts provide for some great views of the Gravesend side opposite, including the Sikh Gurwara. There are also well maintained barracks, and an incredible moat system to check out.
The fort and the “seawall” also let you just watch the traffic on the river, and to get a feel of the past.
Gun and Parade Field
English Heritage Link