By David Gusterson
My great-grandfather, George “Golley” Lewis of Bramford, worked on the Loraine Estate for 66 years, at Bramford Hall. He died in 1925 and from his obituary (see below) it appears that he was Florence Nightingale’s coachman during the Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856).
Great-grandfather in his later years was the odd-job man to Miss Isaura Freda Loraine, the fourth child of Rear Admiral Sir Lambton Loraine and Lady Fredrica Loraine.
Miss Isaura was born at Bramford Hall and lived there until 1937. She was very involved with the Girl Guide movement. My mother, Dorothy Lewis, was born in Bramford and brought up in the parish by her grand-parents and was in the Bramford Girl Guides (1st Bramford) from 1920-1930. She also worked in domestic service for the Loraine family.
Suffolk Chronicle and Mercury 10th July 1925
In Memory of
MY DEAR FATHER
Octogenarian’s Funeral at Bramford
FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE’S COACHMAN
The funeral took place at St Mary’s Church Bramford, on Friday, of Mr George Lewis, sen. There were numerous family mourners and a number of friends. The widow, in spite of her age and infirmity, was present, driven down by the coachman from the hall. The estate agent and members of indoor and outdoor staff at Bramford Hall were also present. The hymn “Now the Labourer’s Task is O’er” was sung, Miss Loraine being at the organ. Many beautiful floral tributes included those from Lady Loraine-Broke, sir Percy Loraine and Miss Loraine, the staff, Bramford British Legion, and Bramford Girl Guides. The arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Hastings and Son, Ipswich.
Mr George Lewis, sen. Had attained his 86th birthday on April 26th, and was at work on the Bramford Hall Estate for 64 years until within six weeks of his death, when he was admitted to the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital. His early life included service with the army in the Suffolk Regiment. He landed with the forces at the Crimea on December 29th 1855, and also had the honour of acting as coachman for Florence Nightingale. His last public appearance was on the occasion of the tenants jamboree for the wedding of Sir Percy Loraine, Bart., C.M.G. in October, 1924 when he presented the bridegroom with a handsome silver cake-casket, on behalf of the indoor and outdoor staff at Bramford Hall.
He was for years the faithful odd-man at the Hall, and, with crippled hands he chopped wood and stacked it in a wood shed which he called his “picture house” and no young man could have bettered his work with logs or their artistic stacking in the shed.
Mr George Lewis was the only surviving son of the late Mr W. Lewis of Bullen Farm. Born on the estate and worked on the same all his life, he was for many years Game-keeper to Col. Scott and Lord Kitchener and odd-man to Lady Loraine of the Hall, Bramford.
(This obituary was written by George’s daughter, Mary Ann or “Pollie” as she was known)
Note: George’s son, Edward Golly Lewis, fought and died in the First World War – see Bramford’s Great War Memorial Project