Cecil Sharp visited John Hands on 9 April 1909 when he sang him the song ‘The Bitter Withy’. Sharp also noted that Mr Hands Junior had a tune variant for the first line and Mrs Hands only knew the words of the last verse. At this time John had two sons, George Aston Hands and William John Hands.
The birth of a John Hands was registered in Bradfield, Oxfordshire in 1853 although a John Hands was baptised 4 July 1846 in Snowshill. John’s parents, William and Anne (formerly Russell) married on 14 February 1847. His family were labourers, unable to read or write as was his grandfather, also called John, who was from Didbrook. John’s father, William, was born in Oxfordshire but his mother was from Snowshill. He and his two younger brothers, Joseph and William, spent their youth in Snowshill. He also had another brother, William, who died in infancy and a sister who married a Thomas Russell. In 1877 he married Caroline Aston, who was from a similar background and by then both had enough education to sign the marriage register. They continued living in a cottage in Snowshill and John became a shoemaker. They had four children: George, Ann, Sally and William John, born between 1878 and 1883. George became a stone quarry labourer and continued to live in Snowshill with his wife, Ann and daughters, Violet Kathleen L. and Lilian A. M.Hands – Violet later married Arthur F. Hadley in 1929. George was killed in the First World War at Salonika as a private in the 9th(Service) Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. Ann, now calling herself Annie, was working as a domestic servant in the Vicarage in Didbrook in 1901 and possibly married Oliver P. James in 1920. George Aston Hands was killed in the First World War on 18 December 1917 in Salonika where he was a Private in the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment.
John’s wife, Caroline, died in 1913 aged 69 and John died in 1925 aged 77. Both were buried in Snowshill.
William Hands(father of John), a bachelor of full age, labourer of Snowshill, son of John Hands married Ann Russell, a spinster of full age of Snowshill, father John Russell on 14th February 1847. Both signed by mark and both their fathers were labourers. Their witnesses were Thomas and Mary Russell.
John Hands, son of William and Anne Hands, labourer of Snowshill, was baptised 4 July 1846 in Snowshill.
The birth of a John Hands was registered in Bradfield, Oxfordshire 3Q 1853 Vol 2C Page 326.
(BRADFIELD REGISTRATION DISTRICT
Registration County : Berkshire.
Created : 1.7.1837.
Abolished : 1.4.1937 (incorporated into Wokingham, Wallingford and Newbury registration districts).
Sub-districts : Bucklebury, Mortimer, Tilehurst.
GRO volumes : VI (1837–51), 2c (1852–1937).
Registers now held by : Wokingham, West Berkshire and Oxfordshire.)
Joseph Hands, son of William and Anne Hands, labourer of Snowshill, was baptised 25 February 1848 in Snowshill.
William Hands, son of William and Anne Hands, labourer of Snowshill, was baptised 6 April1850 in Snowshill.
In the 1851 Census John Hands aged 3 was living in Snowshill with his parents, William Hands aged 30, an agricultural labourer born in Bradford, Oxfordshire and Ann Hands aged 31 and his brother, Joseph aged 2. Ann and the children were all born in Snowshill.
Also living in Snowshill was John Hands aged 65, a pauper agricultural labourer born in Didbrook, Gloucestershire, and his wife Elizabeth aged 61, a farmer’s labourer born in Naunton, Gloucestershire. There are no other Hands families living in Snowshill in the 1851 Census.
In the 1861 Census John Hands aged 13, born in Snowshill, Gloucestershire was living in Snowshill St., Snowshill with his parents William aged 40, born Upton, Oxfordshire, and Ann Hands aged 41 and siblings: Joseph aged 12 and William’s son-in-law Thomas Russell aged 16. All the men are agricultural labourers. All except William were born in Snowshill.
Also living in Snowshill St., Snowshill, is Joseph Hands aged 28, an agricultural labourer with his wife, Eliza, also aged 28 and their children William aged 5, a scholar Mary aged 3 and Henry aged 9 months and their daughter-in-law, Jane Gibb, a scholar aged 11. There are no other Hands families living in Snowshill in the 1861 Census.
George Aston, son of John Hands, a shoemaker of Snowshill, and Caroline Hands was baptised 23rd September 1876.
A John Hands was married in Winchcomb Registration District 2Q 1877 Vol 6a Page 727.
John Hands, bachelor of Snowshill, a labourer of full age, father William Hands, a labourer, married Caroline Aston, a spinster of full age, father Richard Aston, a labourer of Snowshill, at Snowshill Church on 21st April 1877. Both signed the register and their witnesses were Sarah Anne Aston and Richard Carter.
Anne, daughter of John Hands, a shoemaker of Snowshill, and Caroline Hands was baptised 27th July 1878.
George Aston Hands was born in Winchcombe Registration District 3Q 1877 Vol 6a Page 404 (probable son – Aston was mother’s maiden name).( There is also a George William M. Hands also born in Winchcombe Registration District 4Q 1877 Vol 6a Page 415,)
In the 1881 Census John Hands aged 33 is living in a cottage in the Village of Snowshill with his wife, Caroline aged 36 with their children: George aged 3, a scholar, and Ann aged 1. All the family were born in Snowshill, Gloucestershire.
Sally, daughter of John Hands, a shoemaker of Snowshill, and Caroline Hands was baptised 21st August 1881.
William John, son of John Hands, a shoemaker of Snowshill, and Caroline Hands was baptised 21st March 1882.
William Hands of Snowshill was buried in Snowshill on 3rd December 1886 aged 67 (father of John Hands).
In the 1891 Census John Hands aged 43, a shoemaker, Gloucestershire is living with his wife Caroline aged 46, born in with their children George aged 13, a labourer, Sally aged 9 and William aged 8 in a three-room house in Snowshill. All the family were born in Snowshill
Anne Hands aged 11, (their daughter by age) born in Snowshill, Gloucestershire is with her grandmother Anne Hands in Snowshill Village. The grandmother is a widow aged 71 and was born in Snowshill.
In the 1901 Census there are no Hands families living in Snowshill
John Hands aged 34 , a stockman on farm, born at Snowshill is living at Chadbury Farm, Charlbury in the parish of Norton and Lenchwick with his wife Ellen aged 39, born Little Compton, Warwickshire.
Joseph Hands aged 52 , a ganger platelayer born Snowshill, Gloucestershire (possible brother by date) is living at Kingsbury, Warwickshire with his wife, Ellen aged 51 born Longborough, Gloucestershire and daughter Phoebe Ann aged 12, born Derby.
Annie Hands aged 21,(their daughter by age) born Snowshill, Gloucestershire, is living at the Vicarage, Didbrook, Gloucestershire working as a domestic servant for the Vicar.
George Aston Hands was married in Winchcombe Registration District 1Q 1906 Vol 6a Page 571 (poss son).
Violet Kathleen L. Hands (daughter of George – see below – and granddaughter of John Hands) was born in Winchcomb(e) District 3Q 1908 Vol 6a page 395.
Lilian A. M. Hands was born in Winchcomb(e) Registration District 1Q 1911 Vol 6a page 372.
In the 1911 Census John Hands aged 63, a farm labourer born in Snowshill, Broadway, Gloucestershire, is living in Snowshill with his wife, Caroline aged 66, also born in Snowshill. They have had 4 children who are all still living.(P 248)
Joseph Hands aged 48, a farm labourer, is living in Snowshill, Broadway, Gloucestershire with his wife Lucy aged 42 and children: Leonard Oscar aged 15 , a horseman on farm, Percy Tom aged 13and Doris Ethel aged 10. Lucy was born in Seven Wells, Broadway and the rest of the family were born in Snowshill. Victor William Hands aged 19, single, a horseman on farm, is living in Snowshill with his grandparents, Noah Daffurn aged 65, a a farm labourer and Ann Daffurn his wife who have had one child who is still living. Noah was born in Broadway and the other two were born in Snowshill.
Also living in Snowshill is George Hands aged 33 (possible son by age), a stone quarry labourer with his wife, Ann aged 33 and their children Violet aged 2 and Lilian aged 2 months. George and Ann have been married for 5 years and have had 3 children, 2 of whom are still living. Ann was born in Cutsdean, Worcestershire(?Glos.) and the rest of the family were born in Snowshill. There are no other Hands families living in Snowshill, Broadway or Stanton.
Caroline Hands of Snowshill was buried on 8th October 1913 in Snowshill aged 69.Her death was registered in Winchcombe Registration District 3Q 1913 Vol 6a page 447.
George Aston Hands, born Snowshill Gloucestershire was killed in the first World War in 1917 at Salonika in the Balkan Theatre. He was a Private – no 17177 – in the 9th Service Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment (UK soldiers died in the Great War, Ancestry).
Ann M. Hands (prob daughter) was married to Oliver P. James in the Winchcombe Registration District 1Q 1920 Vol 6a Page 761.
John Hands of Snowshill was buried in Snowshill on 22nd February 1925 aged 77 years Winchcomb(e) Registration District Vol 6a page 554 .
Violet K. L. Hands married Arthur F. Hadley in Winchcombe Registration District 3Q 1929 Vol 6a Page 1161.
Notes by Carol Davies November 2011