News

Black Prince's Temple lies in Ruins

4/27/2015 5:46:10 PM

A foley known as the 'Black Prince's Temple' built by Prince Frederick Duleep Singh in the village of Blo' Norton near Diss, lies as a rubble from years of neglect and vandalism and will sadly disappear in the coming months.


In 1923 Prince Frederick Duleep Singh cleared a delightful vista and built a small foley in the woodland next to his residence at Blo Norton Hall. This was a place where he could spend his time reading and hearing the sound of the Norfolk breeze. He dedicated this white pillared structure to the 'Divine Winds of Heaven', but since his demise, gradual neglect and abondonement, this pretty foley has become a victim to decay, added that with a sign of the times with vandalism by children.

 

Elderly residents remember the Foley in its hey day, including wartime evacuee Len Brown who recalled it as strong and well maintanined structure during the war years. 'It was also a meeting point for the young courting couples in those days' he recalled, but by the 1960s the woodland overgrew around the Temple and it became a victim of children of neighbouring villages vanadalizing the monument.  (The Foley in 1968, left)

 

By the 1970s the roof caved in, and the circular stone bust of Julius Ceasar which stood in the centre of the fascia fell, and broke in two. Fortunately a local villager found it in time, took it home and rejoined both peices together, hence saving it from the rest of the falling Temple. (Bust of Claudius, right)

 

In the early 1990s former Hall resident, found the dedication that hanged on the front of the Foley and salvaged it and dispalyed it inside the Hall. When I visited the site in 1996, only the back and side walls were standing, with the pillars lying on the floor. Today, there is just the foundations remaining that mark this special spot chosen by Prince Frederick for his 'Temple'.

 

Local legend has it that the Prince built this in memory of his father's religion, but whatever his reasons behind, it was his legacy to the village and area, a symbol of one of the areas most famous residents which is sadly a shambolic state now. The Prince spent his life time preserving and saving old buildings whether they were churches or town halls, but no one could save his Foley. (Above, The Foley photographed in 1997)

 

The Foley, photographed in May 2011

 

Conversation

  • chan (uk)
    4/3/2010 2:23:24 PM

    sad i am sure uk gov could look after these historic places

  • Nvdeep Kahlon (India)
    5/21/2010 10:32:39 AM

    Uk govt can still ignore but atleast affluent uk punjabi's can preserve our last king's family structures..

  • SATPAL SINGH (CHANDIGARH ( INDIA ))
    6/29/2010 8:19:34 AM

    Dear sir Time to time you are providing very very valuable information about MAHARAJA DULEEP SINGH & HIS FAMILY ,also you are giving us the rare photographs. I Am thank ful to yuo SATPAL SINGH CHANDIGARH

  • ick (birmingham)
    6/30/2010 12:13:17 PM

    i first stumbled upon the life of duleep singh 2 years ago, at the age of 40. i was born and have live here all my life. my dicovery was from a book i found the mahrajas box. i have traveled to the villages of elvdon and thethford made my wonderful dicoverys along the way. i have even gone on to present my findings in a public speaking and persentation and it was well accepted. ok now being born from non practicing sikh famaliy. i dont and cant understand why is it that i have spoken with my own pepole. i have met with conflict and rejection. so now it is sad that i keep my dicovery hidden. but i do understand duleep singh is a important figure of the past for our future. why has not his life been documented for the world to dicover the mans amasing jeuorny of his life. as was my thought the day i dicovred his grave. with one foot in the church yard and my other on the ground of elvedon hall with keep out signs standing before me like if on gard . how that day i long to walk forwords onto the grounds as my hart skiped in my mouth for i had found what i was looking for and now standing one foot on this soil. how luck i felt this day. not wanting to brake rules .one day same day we may get a chance to vist by invertation. some fine day.

  • Gurvinder pal singh (london)
    1/1/2012 5:59:41 PM

    hello everyone. first of all thanks to ick for providing and sharing such a useful information os sikh maharajah. i recently visit to thetford and elveden to see the grave of Maharajah Duleep singh ji and i come to know tht in blo norton town people celebrate a speciaal day for Fredrick Duleep singh s/o Duleep singh. if anybody having any information regarding this day then please share. thank you

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