Black Prince's Temple Lies in Ruins
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)