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Hands, William

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William Hands of Willersey sang As I Went Out the May Morning to James Madison Carpenter between 1927 and 1935. Carpenter noted that it had been sung by a ‘ballet’ singer in Stratford, selling ‘ballets’. He also sang him A-Nutting we will Go, Gypsy Laddie, The Outlandish Knight, and Seventeen come Sunday.

Carpenter note: Willersey, Chipping Campden, from father 45 years ago.

William Hands’ family had lived in Chipping Campden for many years. William’s grandfather, Robert Hands was a labourer born about 1788 and he married Lydia Lake on 20 January 1823 in Chipping Campden. Robert died on 13 August 1838 and in 1841 his widow, Lydia, was living in Cyder Mill Lane, Chipping Campden, with three sons, Robert born about 1830, William born in 1834, and Joseph born about 1838 and one daughter, Fanny born about 1832. This son, William, was William Hands’ father. In 1851 they were still living in Cider Mill Lane. Lydia was now classified as a pauper, but previously had been a spinner. The two eldest boys were working as agricultural labourers and the youngest, Joseph, was a ploughboy. Lydia died and was buried in Chipping Campden in 1855 and William’s father, William, then working as a labourer, married Ellen Plested, also from Chipping Campden in 1860 in Chipping Campden. By 1861 William and Ellen were living in Westington, Chipping Campden where he was working as an agricultural labourer and shepherd. By 1871 they had moved to Watery Lane, Chipping Campden and had two daughters, Ellen born about 1865, Ida born about 1867 and a son, William, born 1860, all born in Chipping Camden. Also living with them were Ellen’s brother, Charles Plested and a lodger, Joseph Harris, both agricultural labourers. By 1881 they were still living in Watery Lane, but then had three more sons, Alvin born about 1874, Robert born about 1877 and Frank Horace born about 1879 and a daughter, Kitty, born about 1872. They were still living in Watery Lane in 1891. William was working as a shepherd, Lydia as a dressmaker, their son, William, was a bus driver and Frank Horace was a scholar. They now had two more children, Arthur D. Hands born about 1882 and Florence Hands born about 1814. Ellen’s brother was still lodging with them and working as a general labourer.

By 1901 William’s father, William Hands, had moved to the Village Street, Willersey, working as an agricultural labourer, and was boarding with a widow, Betsey Collett. Her son, Robert, also an agricultural labourer, and her daughter, Jane, were also living in the same house as were two other boarders. William’s father, William, died in 1909 and in 1910 shortly afterwards William married Jane Collett and by 1911 they were living with Jane’s mother, Betsey in Willersey where William was working as a builder’s labourer. William was able to sign his name on the Census form. William Hands died in 1939 in the North Cotswold registration district, which included Chipping Campden.

Notes by Carol Davies February 2015