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WAYSIDE ART IN EAST ANGLIA

PEOPLE

ROYALTY

The fifteenth-century rood screen at St. Mary’s Church, Kersey, in Suffolk, has six panels painted with ermine-robed kings and prophets.  The prophets are those holding scrolls.

The figure standing second from the left is holding an arrow in one of his hands.  He represents King Edmund who was killed with arrows by the Danes in 869 AD.

Rood screens

 

The rood screen, commonly installed in churches in the later Middle Ages, separated the nave from the chancel and the congregation from the clergy.  Above the screen hung the rood, or cross, which represented the crucifix on which Jesus died.  The screen was usually made of wood and was often elaborately carved or painted.  Many examples survive in East Anglia, the one illustrated here at Kersey being a well-preserved one.

This hotel sign with a king’s head is at Bungay in Suffolk.  As the year inscribed above the head is AD 1135, the head is presumed to be that of King Henry I.  Note the lion supporters either side.

The Greene King emblem on the wall of a pub at Stowmarket in Suffolk, announcing that they have been making ‘fine ales’ since 1799.

The king (above) standing in front of the sea on this sign at Hunstanton in Norfolk is King Edmund.  Rumour has it that he landed here in 855 AD to claim the East Anglian throne.  The sign was erected in 1980.

 

BRINGING HISTORY AND CULTURE TOGETHER

 

This plaque commemorates the official unveiling of this monument by

H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES K.G.K.T.

24th July 1999

 

In 1843 Maharajah Duleep Singh succeeded his father to the throne of the sovereign Sikh kingdom of Punjab.  He was destined to be its last ruler.

 

In 1849 following the closely fought Anglo-Sikh wars the British annexed the Punjab.  Duleep Singh was compelled to resign his sovereign rights and exiled.  It was at this time that the koh-I-noor diamond, later to be incorporated into the crown jewels, passed to the British authorities.

 

Duleep Singh eventually came to Britain and settled at the Elveden estate in Suffolk.  He was a close favourite of Queen Victoria and became a prominent local figure in East Anglia.

 

Later in his life he announced his intention to return to his beloved Punjab but was not allowed to do so.  He died in Paris on October 22nd 1893 having re-embraced the Sikh faith and whilst still engaged in a struggle to regain his throne.

 

To this day the Sikh nation aspires to regain its sovereignty.

In 1849 a Sikh uprising caused 15,000 British soldiers to enter the Punjab in north west India in order to restore order, and a third of them were killed or injured.  Further fighting ensued until the Sikhs submitted and the Punjab became part of the British Raj of India.  The Maharajah of the Punjab, Duleep Singh Bahadoor, who was only eleven years old at the time, was forced to give up his sovereign rights and was exiled.  His property was given to the East India Company, but he was given a pension and was allowed to keep his title as long as he remained obedient to the British government and agreed to live where the Governor General of India chose.

 

In 1854 Duleep was brought to England where he was introduced to Queen Victoria.  She offered him the opportunity of owning an English estate.  In 1865 he acquired Elvedon Hall which is situated four miles from Thetford and which he had rebuilt in an Italian renaissance style.  

 

Duleep married an Indian woman named Bamba Muller, and they had five children.  (They have no descendants living today.)  It was not permitted for Elvedon to be passed down to them.  But it remained in his hands until his death in 1893 and was sold in 1894 to the 1st Earl of Iveagh.

 

For nearly thirty years Duleep was a prominent local figure in East Anglia.  He loved hunting and shooting, and Elvedon became one of the finest sporting places in the country.

Left: The head of Queen Victoria carved on the side of a house in Wymondham in Norfolk.  She is described as the ‘Empress of India’ and as ‘Victoria 50 years Queen of Great Britain and Ireland’.  The following names of countries are written in the outside square border: ‘Canada Australia N-Zealand Burmah Gibralter Malta Cyprus Egypt Africa W.Indies.’

Pub sign at Dennington in Suffolk with a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I.

This village sign at Beccles in Suffolk is one of Suffolk’s earliest signs.  Erected in 1938 it depicts Queen Elizabeth I reading a charter (which was given in 1584) to the first Port Reeve of the Corporation of Beccles.  The charter gave the town municipal status.  The sign, the result of a competition, was designed and carved by George Odam, and was made by Dr. Henry Wood-Hill.

Kings Head pub sign in the Market Place at New Buckenham.

The picture above shows a king depicted in a stained glass window at Oxborough Church in Norfolk.

Above: Pub sign at Gissing depicting a crown.

Duleep Singh

 

Statue of Maharajah Duleep Singh astride his horse on a monument in the centre of Thetford, Norfolk.

The words in the box below are written on the front of Duleep’s monument:

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The Crown is one of the most common names for inns and pubs in the country.  In his book An introduction to Inn Signs published by David and Charles in 1969, Eric Delderfield says that there were over a thousand inns named the Crown at that time.

Above:  House name plaque on a cottage in Gissing in Norfolk, which is attached to the Public House next door known as the Gissing Crown (see right).

Above: A king’s head carved in stone in the chancel of the parish church at Bridgham in Norfolk.  It’s date is no later than 1330.