Matron and Gaoler for the Borough of Ipswich Gaol – the only female Gaoler in the country for many years.




Born: 1777, Stowmarket, Suffolk.

Baptised: 5th October 1777, Stowmarket.


Father: John Earthy, born 1741, Stowmarket. John died 26th May 1810, Stowmarket.

Mother: Elizabeth Earthy (nee Mills), born 1848, Stowmarket, Elizabeth died 26th July 1824, Stowmarket.


On the 23rd May 1798, at St. Mary at the Quay Church, Ipswich, Lucy married William Brame, born 1770, Ipswich.




George Brame, born 1800, Ipswich. On the 25th May 1830, at St. Matthew’s Church, Ipswich, George married Sarah Hewes, born 1806, Ipswich. Sarah and George had 3 children. George was for many years a letter carrier/postman of Ipswich. Sarah Brame died 27th November 1873, at her residence 3, Clarkson Street, Ipswich. Laid to rest at St. Matthew’s Churchyard. George Brame died 12th December 1876, at his residence 3, Clarkson Street, Ipswich. Laid to rest with Sarah, at St. Matthew’s Churchyard. Headstone erected by their daughter Mrs. Sarah Ann Turner.

In December 1880, Mrs. Sarah Ann Turner (nee Brame), of 71, Victoria Street, Ipswich, wife of Walter Turner, a painter, plumber and glazier, had a stained glass window erected in St. Matthew’s Church, in memory of her parents.

The Ipswich Journal – Tuesday, 21st December 1880 – MEMORIAL WINDOW

A new and handsome stained glass window has been placed in St. Matthew’s Church in memory of the late Mr. George Brame and his wife Sarah by their daughter, Mrs. Turner. It is the Westernmost of the coloured windows in the South aisle and the window consists of three principal lights, the centre one being occupied by a figure of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, while in the side lights are female figures, with appropriate emblems representing Faith and Hope. At the foot of the window is the inscription: – “In memory of George Brame, who died December 12th, 1876, æt. 76, and Sarah, his wife, who died November 27th, 1873, æt. 67, erected by their daughter, Sarah Ann Turner, 1880.” The glass was furnished by Messrs. Ward and Hughes, of London, and Messrs. Wigg and Wright, of Ipswich, have executed the necessary stonemason’s work.  

Lucy Brame, born 6th April 1802, Ipswich, baptised 10th April 1802, at St. Matthew’s Church. On the 22nd August 1822, at St. Michael And All Angels Church, Manningtree, Lucy married James Jeffries, born 5th February 1798, Hadleigh, Suffolk. Lucy and James had 6 children. James was a nurseryman – own account, he was a regular exhibitor at Horticultural Society Shows, and did well with his potted plants – geraniums, fuchsias and verbenas. James Jeffries died 12th September 1863, at his residence, Rose Villa, London Road, Ipswich. Laid to rest at St. Matthew’s Churchyard, Ipswich. Lucy Jeffries died 8th March 1869, Rose Villa, London Road, Ipswich. Laid to rest at St. Matthew’s Churchyard. After the death of Lucy, their family home, Rose Villa, London Road was sold by auction – a villa dwelling house with conservatory, a walled-in garden, and acres of nursery grounds.


Benjamin Basil Brame, born 30th March 1804, Ipswich, baptised 3rd April 1804, St. Matthew’s Church.


Sarah Brame, born 21st March 1805, Ipswich, baptised 28th March 1805, at St. Matthew’s Church.


Ann Middleton Brame, born 31st December 1807, Ipswich, baptised 3rd January 1808, at St. Matthew’s Church.

On Friday, 17th July 1801, at the Quarter Sessions held at the Shire Hall, Ipswich, William was appointed Keeper of the Ipswich Borough Gaol. At the same time Lucy became the Matron. Lucy and William resided at the Gaol situated at the entrance of Black Horse Lane, off St. Matthew’s Street, later known as “Old Gaol Lane.”


William Brame died Tuesday, in March 1811, at Ipswich. Laid to rest at St. Matthew’s Churchyard, Ipswich.

Lucy Brame continued at the Gaol and became the Gaoler – the only female Gaoler in the country for many years. With the help of her son-in-law James Jeffries, Lucy planted many fruit trees, bushes and shrubs in the garden and about the grounds.


Suffolk and Essex Free Press – Thursday, 4th April 1867 –

Lucy Brame was short in statue and spare in person, but a most firm and decided character; and she was enabled to manage the prisoners placed under her charge by the experience of firmness and courage, which she possessed in a most remarkable degree. It was part of her duty to convey prisoners sentenced to transportation to the hulk at Portsmouth, and in the days of coaching she was often seen with a gang of convicts travelling on a coach to Portsmouth. Many a traveller has been astonished at seeing a woman in charge of a gang of convicts. Lucy obtained great moral ascendancy over the prisoners placed under her charge, and in the course of 30 years that she was in full charge of the gaol she was never molested by any prisoner.



1851   Whitton Road, St. Matthew’s, Ipswich.


Lucy was 74 years old, a retired Gaol Matron. She was living with her daughter.

Sarah Brame, 45.


1861   Norwich Road, St. Matthew’s, Ipswich.


Lucy was 84 years old she was living with her daughter.

Sarah Brame, 55.


During her last two years as Keeper at the Borough Gaol, Lucy received a salary of £100 per annum.

Lucy retired in 1840, and after much discussion the Ipswich Corporation granted Lucy a pension of £40 per annum for the remainder of her life.

At the Quarterly Meeting on Wednesday, 20th March 1839, of the Town Council, the pension to the ex-gaoler was mentioned. Mr. Frederick Seekamp moved that Mrs. Brame be allowed a pension of £50 per annum for the remainder of her life. Mr. John Ridley seconded the motion. There was an objection raised that no notice had been given and postponed until the next meeting of the Council. The Ipswich Journal – 23rd March 1839.


At the Quarterly Meeting on Wednesday, 1st May 1839 of the Town Council, held at the Town Hall. Mr. John Carter reminded the Council of a promise made on the 20th March 1839 to consider the claim of Mrs. Lucy Brame, the late keeper of the Borough Gaol.


It was the unanimous opinion of the Council, at the last meeting, that her claim should now be taken into consideration. Mr. Carter felt that Lucy was in every respect entitled to a retiring compensation her services. Mr. Frederick Seekamp moved that that £50 per annum, during life, be granted to Lucy. Mr. Carter Seconded the motion. Mr. John May thought the Council should hesitate before they vote away £50 away per annum. 13 members were for the amendment 3 against it. A Committee was then formed to take the matter calmly into consideration. The Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 4th May 1839.

Benjamin Brame

At the Quarterly Meeting on Wednesday, 31st July 1839 of the Town Council, Lucy’s retiring pension was once more discussed. The Town Clerk read a report from the Committee which stated that £30 per annum should be granted. Benjamin Brame (Lucy’s brother-in-law) remarked that the sum named was very small. That she was an old servant, whom the Corporation had deprived of office but not from any fault on her part. She had worked at the Gaol for 30 years with no complaints made against her. Unless the sum were increased, Lucy would not have sufficient for her maintenance. Mr. Thomas Ross considered that £50 would not be too much to allow. Mr. William May proposed as a middle course, that Lucy Brame be allowed £40 per annum. The Mayor Mr. George Sampson put he several motions, and Mr. May’s proposition of £40 per annum was carried by a large majority, two only voting for the adoption of the report. The Ipswich Journal – Saturday, 3rd August 1839.


Lucy died 25th March 1867, aged 90, at her home at Norwich Road, Ipswich.

Laid to rest at Ipswich Old Cemetery, Section H.


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