Bramford

"Took a walk around Bramford School recently, spotted these words at the far end. The school is on the left after the bridge at the bottom of the hill next to the hall as you enter Bramford. Gordon (Pugh)"
[Our thanks to Gordon for introducing a page to this site about Bramford, near neighbour of – but separate to – Ipswich.]
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bramford 1
'THIS STONE WAS LAID
ON THE 31 DAY OF OCTOBER
A..D. 1860

BY SIR G.N. BROKE BART., C.B.
BY WHOM THE GROUND WAS GIVEN
THE ERECTION OF THIS SCHOOL
UPON IT BEING DUE TO THE
LIBERALITY AND ZEAL OF
THE
REV. W. BEDFORD, VICAR
AND THE INHABITANTS OF THE
PARISH OF BRAMFORD.'


Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bramford 2
'THIS CLASSROOM
WAS ERECTED
A.D. 1897.
AS A MEMORIAL OF THE
60TH REIGN OF
VICTORIA
BY THE GRACE OF GOD
QUEEN AND EMPRESS
1837 – 1897'
Ipswich Historic Lettering: Bramford 3
The Bramford Local History Group (see Links) has an interesting commentary on these school plaques:-

"Extract from the Ipswich Journal 3rd November 1860:
'LAYING THE MEMORIAL STONE OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND SCHOOLS, AT BRAMFORD
The education of the poor in the rural districts is now carried on by the clergy with great energy and success.  Nothing has been more striking, in the last twenty years, than the rapid rise of the present system of parochial schools.  In most every village we meet with pretty little school-houses, built in all sorts of materials and styles of architecture; indeed, it has become a matter of some difficulty to find a village of any note without parish school.  Bramford has lingered somewhat in the rear of more favoured places; but thanks to the energy of the present vicar, the Rev. W. Bedford, and the liberality of Sir George Broke-Middleton, and other landowners and inhabitants, the village has now as large and well appointed school-house as any parish in the county.  Bramford is a large parish, having an area of 3,168 acres, and a population of 997, in 1851; its population having doubled since the commencement of the present century.  It is not an exclusively agricultural parish, for it contains a mill for the manufacture of coarse paper, and the extensive manure works of Mr. Packard and the Messrs. Chapman; lime works, and other branches of manufacturing industry, are also carried on in the place; and now, side by side with all this material prosperity, it is gratifying to be able to add, school accommodation for the children of all the working men in the parish.  The school buildings, which are situated near the Church, consist of a suite of large and lofty rooms, with a house for the master and mistress attached.  The land upon which the buildings are situated was given by Sir Geo. Broke-Middleton, Bart., and the buildings were erected by funds derived from public subscription, together with other grants.  The total cost of the building was 725.  Towards this sum 353 had been received as a grant from government, 25 was received from the National Society, and 50 from the Diocesan Society, and the remainder was raised by local subscriptions, with the exception of 50, which remain in arrear up to Wednesday last, when the schools were opened.
The proceedings of the day commenced at the Church, where divine service commenced at two o’clock.  The Rev. W. Bedford, the vicar of the parish, read prayers; after which the Rev. F. H. Maude, incumbent of Holy Trinity, Ipswich, preached a sermon in aid of the funds.
The Church was filled to overflowing, many of the congregation being obliged to stand throughout the service.  Amongst those present we observed Sir Fitz-Roy Kelly, Sir George and Lady Broke-Middleton, the Rev. Ambrose Steward and family, Revds. W. Howarth, E. Daniel, A. H. Synge, E. J. Lockwood, J. E. Thompson, - Taylor, - Mowatt, J. M. Theobald, E. Bolton, and many other clergymen and gentry of the neighbourhood.
(A very detailed account of the sermon followed here)
We are happy to be able to say that the collection at the close of the service amounted to 18 9s; out of this sum 16s. 4d. was given in pence.
It is very general, in matters of this kind, to have some kind of commemorative service at the laying of the first stone of the building; but at Bramford it was the last, or “memorial” stone of the schools, which was the subject of ceremony on Wednesday.  Of course with funds so narrow as the figures we have quoted, in this case it was not possible to make any great architectural show.  The building is, however, a very pretty specimen of that style of architecture which has come so much into vogue of late years, and which is perhaps a not very pure reproduction of the Tudor style.  The master’s house stands at one end, and is two stories high.  The schoolrooms are situated in the rear of this, and consist of one story only, but they are very lofty.  They are lighted on one side by double –light windows which rise into gables in the roof – relieving the monotony of the plain-tiled surface, and giving a very pleasing effect to the whole building.  At the end opposite to the master’s house there is a corresponding gable, and in this gable a large slab is worked with the ... inscription.
...
This stone is surrounded by the Broke and Middleton arms, carved in bold relief, and wrought into the form of a Gothic arch [see below*]; and the key-stone of the arch was the same that Sir George Broke-Middleton laid on Wednesday.  A handsome silver trowel was presented to him on the occasion, bearing the following inscription:-
“Presented to Sir George Broke-Middleton, Bart., on his laying of the Memorial Stone of the Church of England Schools, at Bramford”
The bells of the Church were ringing out a merry peal, and a large number of the inhabitants were present to witness the ceremony.  Great numbers were working men, who were evidently making holiday for the occasion.  It seemed indeed, as if the parishioners took the preacher at his word and looked upon the occasion as one of deep and heartfelt rejoicing.  The ringing ceased, and after a short prayer by the Vicar, Sir George worked the stone into its place, assisted by the builder, and Mr. Barnes the architect.
The Honourable BARONET then turned to the audience, and spoke nearly as follows:-
Ladies and Gentlemen: I declare the memorial stone of this school to be duly laid.  There has been a little difficulty – owing, perhaps to the clumsiness of the workmen – but I hope, although a long time has been spent in laying it, it will be the longer in being displaced.  I feel that I need say but very few words after the eloquent sermon which you have just heard.  I feel it a high privilege to have been called upon to lay the stone, and I am heartily pleased at the manner in which the people of this parish have come forward to support their minister in this work.  If it had not been for him you would never have had the pleasure of meeting here for this purpose.  I trust that the parents of the children will heed the words which they have heard today.  I hope they will assist their minister in this work, by sending their children to school as much as they can.  I now call upon you to give three cheers as a proof that you will do so.
Three cheers were given; after which the Rev. Mr BEDFORD came forward and said:
I am very glad to see so many of you here to-day.  I think, my friends, you will join with me in thanking Sir George for what he has done for us.  You know, as well as I do, that his work did not begin here today.  He came over when he heard we were contemplating erecting schools –(I did not hear that he spoke to anyone, I am sure he did not speak to me) – and set apart this piece of land for us at a time when we did not know where we should get a site for our schools.  He is a little mistaken in telling you that so much of the credit is due to me.  I have been very liberally seconded in the matter, and I owe my thanks to you all for the assistance you have offered me.  The children are to have a treat in the school-room from Sir George Broke-Middleton – I dare say they are very anxious to get there.  I hope that a blessing will rest upon all who have taken a part in this good work, and that it may prove to a blessing to future generations.  I will not detain you; but that Sir George may not forget this day, I am deputed to present him with this trowel.  I call for three cheers for Sir George Broke-Middleton.
The cheers were given, and the company then entered the school-room, where the children assembled to take tea.  They were arranged at their desks, and, before the proceeding with their repast, they sang “Rule Britannia”, and several popular songs in very pleasing style.  The day had been delightfully fine, and from the children at their tea to Sir George Broke- Middleton himself, all seemed to have entered soberly and seriously into the true spirit of the undertaking.'
...
*Unless the stone was altered later (when the additional classroom was added in 1875) the surround does not look as elaborate as that described above.  There appears to be two badly weathered crests above the stone, one of an arm grasping a trident and the other is a Brock or Badger, the latter being a play on the name Broke.  Both of these crests are associated with the Broke or Broke-Middleton families. 
The Broke, later Broke–Middleton Baronetcy, of Broke Hall, was a title in the Baronetage of Great Britain.  It was created on 2 November 1813 for Rear Admiral Philip Broke. He was the grandson of Robert Broke, nephew of Sir Robert Broke, 1st Baronet, of Nacton who were both descended from Sir Richard Broke, Chief Baron of the Exchequer to Henry VIII. The second Baronet was High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1844 and his younger brother, George, the third Baronet, was High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1864. The third Baronet assumed the additional surname of Middleton in 1860 after inheriting the estate of his cousin Sir William Middleton. The title became extinct on his death in 1887. The fact that that Sir George did not assume the additional surname of Middleton until 1860 might explain why the stone is only inscribed with the name “Broke” but he is referred to in the article as Broke-Middleton.
Rear Admiral Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke, the first Baronet, achieved fame as a frigate captain during the 'War of 1812' with the United States of America.  Broke commanded HMS Shannon and fought, and won, a single ship action against the more heavily armed USS Chesapeake on the 1st June 1813."



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