Sunday, 18 March 2012

Frederick Duleep Singh and Old Buckenham

Hall filled for local history talk
For the second night running the Old Buckenham Village Hall was packed with people. On Saturday 17 March it was for the talk by Peter Bance on 'The Prince who lived in Old Buckenham'. There can't be many small villages in the country that can claim to have had a prince and three princesses living there at the same time.
But then Prince Frederick Duleep Singh came to live at Old Buckenham Hall in 1897 followed soon after by his three sisters, the princesses Bamba, Catherine and Sophia, at the Manor House beside Old Buckenham Green. How this all came about was all explained by Peter Bance as he gave the history of the Duleep Singh dynasty, how members of the family were forced to leave India and then came to England where they were befriended by Queen Victoria.
Frederick settled in his new home in Old Buckenham and set about improving the house and gardens. He was a keen shot and, along with his elder brother Victor, set up local records for the amount of game shot in one day. He moved on to other houses locally, first to Breckles and then to Blo' Norton where he died and is buried.
All this, and much more, was illustrated by the speaker's collection of old photographs and other family items. He answered questions from the audience and also heard their stories of Prince Frederick, even down to the wonderful handwriting he had when recording the minutes of the Old Buckenham Green Right Proprietors.
The aim of this evening's event was to raise money for the village hall funds and, with all 120 seats taken, it was successful raising over £400. The local Attleborough Heritage Group provided excellent projection facilities and the Old Buckenham Women's Institute served up wonderful homemade refreshments.
Perhaps even more important was that the audience seemed to enjoy it, probably spoke to people from the village that they had never met before and went home knowing more about their village history than they did when they arrived.

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