26th October 1605. The Curse of the Treshams.

The Tresham Family of Rushton Hall, Northants would appear to be cursed as always condemned to be on the losing side. From 1399 to 1605  seven heads of the family experienced malign deaths.

One was definitely murdered, one executed, three probably murdered, one died young, one was betrayed by his son-in-law and lost his property.

The Treshams were recusants, (Catholic dissenters) and the last on our list, Francis was indirectly involved in the plot to blow up parliament, but seemingly got ‘cold-feet as it was Today a Saturday in 1605 when Baron Mounteagle received an anonymous letter purported to have come from Francis.

This was sent to Secretary of State, Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Francis’ part in the Plot, was confirmed by plotters Guy Fawkes and Thomas Wintour .

He was despatched to the Tower where in 1605 he mysteriously died, after which he was decapitated as a traitor, with his head being stuck on the gates of Northampton.(1)

The Treshams had settled at Rushton in the 15thc and the family’s rise attributable to William (1399-1450) when appointed Speaker of the Commons, but later indicted for treason and murdered.

His son Sir Thomas, a Lancastrian, was executed in 1471 after the Battle of Tewkesbury by the victorious Yorkists under Edward IV.



Lyveden New Bield.

Uncompleted Lyveden New Bield (build) by Sir Thomas  (1543-1605)

Of the seven ‘cursed’ Treshams, the two most significant apart from Francis, the ‘Gun-Powder Plotter’, was the second Sir Thomas who inherited Lyveden Manor (Old Bield (build), and responsible for the above building and the Lodge below.

However he openly converted to Catholicism in 1580, a time when Queen Elizabeth was under threat from Catholics; he also made the mistake of harbouring the Catholic priest Edmund Campion.(2)


Rushton Triangular Lodge

Rushton Triangular Lodge, near Kettering, Northants built for the Warrener (rabbit keeper), of Sir Thomas started 28.7.1594 completed following years

Trefoil Design of Triangular Lodge

Trefoil Design of Triangular Lodge

The Lodge has been described as: ‘No more no less than a profession of faith in stone’.(3).

Buildings outlive their creators as Sir Thomas is still remembered today through his monuments, a forlorn testament to a devout Catholic.

(1) Francis (1571-1605) was the first son of Sir Thomas Tresham of Rushton and Muriel Throckmorton daughter of Catholic, Sir Robert of Coughton, Warwickshire. He died at 2.00 am on 23rd December 1605.

William Parker, Lord Monteagle was brother-in-law to Tresham.

(2) He died on 11.9.1605.

(3) Pevsner Buildings of England volume Northamptonshire. 1973 edition and later edition, Yale 2013.


The Elizabethans loved allegory and Thomas Tre (three)sham was obsessed by the Trinity. There are three storeys, trefoil windows, three triangular gables and on the entrance we see Tres Testimonium Dant, relating to the three who gave witness regarding the Trinity in St John’s Gospel.

The buildings are also full of mystic, religious numerology.

Ref: thornber.net/Pic of Triangular Lodge.

Ref: britainexpress.com/Pic of Lyvden.

Ref: Wikipedia.org.

Ref: everything2.com Rushton allegory relating to the building.

Ref: historicbritain.com Rushton Triangular Lodge.

Ref: Haynes 2005 P 89.

Ref: Northamptonshire Psalm in Stone. Chris Howse Sacred Mysteries, Daily Telegraph, Sat. Aug. 31st 2013.

Ref: britainexplorer.com/curse-of-the-treshams/Pic of New Bield.

Ref: Catholic Gentry in English Society: The Throckmortons of Coughton . Peter Marshall and Geoffrey Scott.


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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

One response to “26th October 1605. The Curse of the Treshams.”

  1. Janet Mellor says :

    Delighted with the reference to Rushton Triangular Lodge. What a fascinating building! Cannot wait to visit!

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