A 16th century mansion, which once belonged to a leading Catholic recusant family, has gone on the market this week. Rushton Hall, a 40-room Grade I listed building in Northamptonshire, was built for the merchant Sir Thomas Tresham. After the Reformation, throughout the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, when it was illegal to be Roman Catholic, the Treshams, with others in the area, continued to practice their faith, and offered hospitality to several priests who celebrated Mass at the Hall. The house has secret passages, a priest's hole and a small chapel. In 1605, it was alleged that Francis Tresham, a son of Sir Thomas was involved in the November 5 Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. He was executed at the Tower of London on 22 December 1605. For the last 40 years the mansion has been used as a special school by the Royal National Institute of the Blind.
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