In the sleepy village of Blo’ Norton (near Thetford, Norfolk), history is bringing people and cultures together. H.H. Prince Frederick Duleep Singh (1868-1926), the third son of Maharajah Duleep Singh spent the last 20 years of his life here.
Prince Frederick has been described as a country squire, and had an extensive collection of paintings and other antiquities. As well as collecting, he was a staunch champion of preserving and documenting history in buildings; he saved many churches and buildings in the area, and created a lasting impact on the natural landscape by planting trees. He also donated the building (for) and opened Ancient House Museum in Thetford.
The thought of an Indian Sikh Maharajah and his family in the UK during that time has always conjured up intrigue and fascination, especially after visiting Thetford and Elveden for the first time in January- East Anglia’s Maharajah & Saxon Kingdom.
We have had the pleasure of visiting Blo’ Norton twice, both times meeting locals who were more than happy to share their knowledge of the village and the Duleep Singh family. There is an immense amount of history here, and it makes for an excellent visit whatever your interest. With special thanks to local residents Neil, Joan, Petal and Geoffrey who put on a lovely tea and guided us through the village.
We have created this hand-drawn walk to allow you to enjoy this delightful village and soak up the history of the Duleep Singh family; enjoyed even by our energetic two year old.
- The Black Prince’s Folly – ‘The Temple of the Winds’ now in ruins, designed by Prince Frederick; is believed by many as a dedication to his father’s Sikh religion. It is located in the woods near Blo’ Norton Hall. (Just as Prince Frederick fought for preservation, something must be done to preserve this folly – more on this soon!)
- Avenue of lime trees – planted by Prince Frederick leading up to the folly.
- Blo’ Norton Hall – 16th century mansion with gardens where Prince Frederick lived from 1909 until his death. The Hall is now privately owned.
- Grave of Prince Frederick Duleep Singh – located in the churchyard of St. Andrew’s Church.
- St. Andrew’s Church – a memorial tablet dedicated to the Prince, unveiled by his sisters is visible as you enter the church. There is also a black and white photo of the Prince as a young boy with unshorn hair at the far end.
- Memorial cross – located outside of the church gate, and designed by the Prince after WW1. A roll of honour and the cross design are located within the church.
- Hampton House – residence of his sister, Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, occasioned by the Princesses when visiting their brother. Princesses Sophia and Catherine were staunch suffragettes.
- House once owned by the Prince left to his faithful servant, Herbert Hudson.
- Small fenced area of land bequeathed by the Prince to the Norfolk Archaeological Trust.
There is a small cafe in the village, Dutch Barn Nursery.
All images and artwork by the authors © all rights reserved 2016