Maurice Lewis: "Man of Letters"
maurice

Maurice Lewis
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The Transcribed Letters An example of an original letter maurice

Maurice driving his coach outside the Wynnstay
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An introduction by his great-great-grandaughter, Alison Bowden:
Maurice Lewis was born about 1846 in the district of Carreghofa, Montgomeryshire, and his wife Emma was born in Meifod. They lived in Machynlleth, initially in Poplar Terrace and then Graig Villas, and Maurice worked as a Coachman/Porter at the Wynnstay Hotel in Maengwyn St. They had three children, Lizzie Ann, Johnny and Frances.   
Lizzie Ann left home aged 18 to go into domestic service in London. At 21 she married a local boy, David Hughes, who lived in Doll Street, Machynlleth. David was a Slate Enameller and worked in London, Birmingham and Manchester before ending up in Nottingham. They had seven children, John Maurice, Maglona Mary (a good traditional Machynlleth name), David Lewis (my grandfather), William Glyn, Enid, Trevor Alun, and Maldwyn. 
Lizzie Ann's sister Frances was a soprano singer. She was very well known locally, winning many competitions and Eisteddfodau - here's a photo of a medal she won in Pennal in 1902. Maurice's weekly letters to Lizzie Ann often mention competitions that "Francey" had won, accounts of her singing at the Chapel, and playing the organ and mandolin at various functions. Frances never married and remained in Machynlleth until her death in 1959 aged 74. Johnny Lewis left home to find work in London, initially on the railways, and then in the tailoring profession. He died in 1914. Maurice died in 1920, and Emma a few years later. They are buried in Machynlleth Town cemetery along with their son, Johnny. We've also got a photograph of Francey's gravestone that was taken by somebody else but, although we've searched the main Machynlleth cemeteries, we haven't located this gravestone yet.
Maurice Lewis was my great-great Grandfather and I was given the collection of his letters from my mother Maglona Green. I'm getting a lot of support from my Mum and my Aunt, Frances Wells, (Maurice's great grandaughters) with this project to share his letters with a wider audience. The letters give a real sense of what life was like at the turn of the century for ordinary folk, and I feel like I'm getting to know my great-great-grandfather through them. I asked my Mum and Aunt how they felt on seeing the letters on a website, and their memories of Maurice's daughter Lizzie Ann, and his grandchildren - here's what they said: 
"'Welsh Roots' - From being a small child I have always felt the strong influence of my paternal Grandmother - Lizzie Ann Lewis. Her 'Welshness' seeped into every one of us. Her religion was her greatest strength, and she wished me and my sister Maglona to know that strength. I remember attending Morning Service, Sunday School and Evening Service every Sunday, for many years. She once removed me from a high Church of England church because incense was used during the service, and was most upset when we were given palm crosses on Palm Sunday and I remember being swiftly moved to a Methodist chapel as she had no time for anything she considered to be 'papist'. Her sister lived in Machynlleth all her life; she was well known as a soprano singer and organist, winning many prizes and competitions. Lack of work in Machynlleth meant Lizzie Ann was shipped off to London, and into service. Frances, because of her talents, was able to stay at home; she never married." 
 Frances Ann Wells - born and bred in Nottingham.
francis wells
Frances Wells 
Although I have few recollections of my grandmother Lizzie Ann as a person, I do remember the value she placed on maintaining family ties, and for herself - religious belief. I believe her whole community was based on these beliefs, proof of which is to be found in the letters to her from her father, Maurice Lewis. Her sons Maldwyn and John Hughes kept the letters safe, later to be passed on to me and then my daughter Alison Bowden. These two sons always hoped that one day the letters would be able to be read by the public at large, and would be delighted that this has been achieved in my lifetime.
 Maglona Green - Nottingham 
maglona green & alison bowden
Maglona Green & Alison Bowden 
I would also like to say a BIG thank you to Richard Williams, for his enthusiasm, encouragement, patience and technical expertise - without his encouragement and support this project would never had got off the ground. Thank you, Richard.
Alison Bowden

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