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Hands

The name , according to some dictionaries, was given to those with special abilities with their hands or to someone with a disability, so having the same surname does not necessarily imply blood relation. Our group hail from the Wiltshire area of Nunton and Downton, close to all three county borders - download a rough map here. Downton is quite a large place, with a tannery, and used to have a moot (Anglo-Saxon meeting place). Nunton is smaller. Size is relative, of course - neither are exactly town size. Most of the family seem to have worked as shepherds when they could.

Dorset has a Hand reference in the late 16th century and there may be earlier refs in other counties. Jemima Hand was Thomas Hardy's mother - a cook? - from the Dorset area. It is certainly a well-established Wilstshire name by the 18th century and occurs in several parishes spread throughout the area;Trowbridge, Bremhill, Chippenham, Chitterne St. Mary. In the latter, a Hand was apprenticed to or took as apprentice someone called Imber in 1744 and a John Hand was signature on a draft agreement to the division of common land in Feb 1747. By at least 1788 there were several Hands in Portsmouth. In 1795 there is a Bishop's Bond for the marriage of William hand and Elizabeth Montgomery of Walford. This could all be completely beside the point.

Some flavour of the Wiltshire parish can be gained from parish records. In 1797 two males were baptised before being hung 'for stealing goods' and in 1781 a burial is recorded of a man 'a stranger from the workhouse'. The old church must have been in poor shape as it was restored around 1859 Most of our Hands seem to have had to move around for work and although the area has sheep in plenty (belonging to large estates in some cases) there is a small chalk pit. 'Labourer' may or may not mean agricultural work.

Note that the registration of illegitimate births is very common, moreso than in any Cornish parish I have seen. I wonder if this may be connected with military presence, or the proximity of docks, or simply to the fact is seems to be a very quiet backwater.

I have not yet inspected the non-conformist records so cannot tell if any Hands are recorded as Baptists, Methodists etc. There was a chapel at Downton from 1738 recording births and burials from 1767 and 1794 respectively.

I am aware of no local Hands from this group remaining today. There is one at Alderbury and a few in Salisbury who may be related. In 1953 the Salisbury directory had 10 entries.

 

*

d.o.b.

place

baptised or christened date

married

 

died

date/place

notes

sources

see box below

****

 

William Hand

 

*

William could have come from anywhere. He is shown as 'of Downton' for his marriage but I can find no record of his being born there. I can find no family of Hands from which he might have sprung. It is more likely he was the first Hand to come to Downton. They are very thin on the ground until he starts to have children in the area.
Henry was the eldest child, unless I have missed some from other parishes, they had a very small family, so perhaps they moved away after William died.

*
****

son of ???

 

***
****

Susannah Saunders

6/12/1798 Downton, Wiltshire

 

*William is entered on his marriage record as 'of Downton' , with no age or occupation. Both partners were illiterate*
children's names*******

Henry

**9/10/1801

Mary Denman 12/1/1823

 

*see 1841 Cs**
Harriot**6/2/1802****
James 25//11/1804***** 
William**2/8/1807*buried 1808 or 9**

 

*

d.o.b.

place

baptised or christened date

married

 

died

date/place

notes

sources

see box below

****Henry Hand

 

*

When James was born he was a labourer at Downton. Ann was born at Wick
but by Henry he was back at Downton, working as a shepherd. Robert's birth saw him
labouring again, which continued up to Thomas and Harriet, George was born at Downton, as
was Anne.

*
***
*

Mary Denman 12/1/1823

 

*
Henry signed his name when married, while Mary was illiterate. James Beaman and William
Pope witnessed.
1871 Cs Henry was a widower, ex- shepherd
*
children's names*******

James

31/8/1823**

 

Maria from Downton, aged 49 1871 Cs.
*daughter Eliz 27/6/47 Wick; 1871 Cs Downton shepherd with Wm aged 17, Mark 14, Ann 11, Emma 9 and Louisa 6., the boys shephersds. *
William25/12/1825**Harriet*

son George Charles b. 14/11/1847 Wick m Fanny from whom Herbert and Walter.

Wnen GC born, Wm labourer and 1871 Cs G 23 ag labourer, with Fanny 23 from Redlynch, Herbert 3 and Walter 1.

*
Eliz (Eliz Ann?) *****d Ellen Jane 21/5/1848 Wick illegitimate 
Ann29/10/26******
George26/10/28Downton*Mary***
Anne?6/2/31   *1841 Cs shows no Anne but has Charles aged 10*
Henry11/5/33******
Robert18/10/35**Fanny (33 1871 Cs)*from whom Mary A and William E (aged 12 and 9 1871Cs). Both parents then ag labourers. *
Rosina 29/10/37      
Thomas15/3/40      
Harriet15/6/45      

 

*

d.o.b.

place

baptised or christened date

married

 

died

date/place

notes

sources

see box below

****

 

George Hand

*

George started work as a labourer in Downton and was later a shepherd. He moved to Bodehham as a labourer and then Hunton. Henry seems to have moved with him, along with his brother Robert and his nephew George. They started a fairly large settlement of Hands in this area. In 1871 Cs he was a shepherd aged 42 and his wife was a laundress aged 39.

*
****

Mary from Redlynch

***
children's names*******

Louisa Ellen

23/12/1855Bodenham*

 

*

from whom Gerald, illegitimate, born 23/7/79 but not recorded at church until 4/4/86 (from information received). I do not know what happened to her - perhaps went away with the child? She is not on the 1871 census for Nunton or
Downton. The entry shows 'shepherd' crossed out and replaced 'illy'.

*
Alice Mary12/9/1858*****Unprocessed request for her birth cert D89
Anna17/5/1860*marked as "private" and received at the church 20/5. *** 
Edwin James 28/9/62Nunton***George at that time a shepherd.*
Henry George2/4/65Nunton*Ellen Louise *from whom Ernest George 23/9/94 and Reginald Vicrtor 12/1/96. when he was a Nunton labourer. *
William Charles 5/5/67** *George a labourer*
Lilly B1869?******
Anthony F 28/5/71******
Edith Kate 3/3/78******

 

 

*

d.o.b.

place

baptised or christened date

married

 

died

date/place

notes

sources

see box below

****

 

Alice Mary Hand

 

*

In 1871 she was a thirteen year old living at home.

The birth certificate for Edgar James (copy held D7) shows her occupation as a Domestic Servant and her place of residence as the house of an aunt, Sarah Jane Dawes or Sawes, at Philips Heath at Little Sombourne, Hants.

Whether she was a domestic servant at Little Sombourne, where the aunt looked after the daughter, or at Nunton, which she left on the second birth, I cannot tell.

Philips Heath is probably an area of scrub near Little Sombourne. I went there but the village is now gone. There is a church left, a farm and a few houses, but nothing else. There are two large estates there which probably provided work for the locals and still own most of the land where the village used to be. (Could be all one estate - haven't checked yet.)

*
children's names*******

Christine Louise

1879?*4/4/1880 Salisbury Hospital

 

*

The parish records show Christine Louise, baptised at Salisbury hospital aged seven, this information received at Nunton church 4/4/1886. Alice had no occupation entered for this date, but I have not yet ordered the birth certificate.

It is possible she or the chidren were ill then and not impossible that the daughter died there. If she did not, there should be some trace of her, maybe with the surname of Alice's later husband.

*
Edgar James Dale8/2/1880*4/4/1880 Salisbury Hospital
If Alice did not move from Nunton until she was pregnant the second time, there is a possible candidate for Edgar James' father. Dale is a surname recorded in Nunton for some years. Ar female Dale registered an illegitimate child in 1825. In 1873 and 1881 an Anthony John Dale baptised children. He was a first whip huntsman at Britford kennels and married to an Emma. There may have been Dales at Little Sombourne, I have not yet checked the census. If there are not, then this Dale is best candidate - but that is only guesswork. Oral history suggests Edgar's father was 'the son of the people his mother worked for'.
*

Edgar James Dale, aged 6, is entered one line above and both appear on the page used for births in 1880. Probably, Alice she had the daughter in 1879 and the son in 1880 but took neither to the
church.

The birth was not registered until 5th May 1880. after these two she married and had more children. Not known what area. Oral history suggests a sister Elsie Hand who married Alban Tipper and moved to Portswood, Southampton, but what is her place and date of birth? She had a daughter or daughter in law called Jo but may also have had a differrent mother to Edgar. There should also be brothers who were in the Royal Marines with him.

** 

 

*

d.o.b.

place

baptised or christened date

married

 

died

date/place

notes

sources

see box below

* 8th Feb 1880**

Edgar James

Dale Hand

Falmouth aged 88biog and photos service record as pdf
****

Charlotte Lydia May Clements

Alverstoke 7/8/1905 (cert number 2b/1233)

 

*biog and photos*
children's names*******

Wiliam Charles

 

***

 

*

* 1980 lived 52 Acacia Rd. Falmouth and known as Bill. Was sgt in Royal Artillery and BAOR. When demobbed in TAs at Bar Terrace, wherehe met Mgt. Became custodian at Pendednnis. William C born 1905 listed in 1939 Register (no mention of Edgar).*
Beatrice Evelyn = Betty 10/4/1915***

aged 17 of diabetes and yellow jaundice, around 1935?? request death cert later

A small album (D158) is inscribed "To Beat, with best wishes from Bill Xmas 1926" It contains small number of drawings and paintings by various hands, some quite welle executed. A diary of hers (also D158) aged 16 contains a limited number of pencil entries, mostly about the boys she had met. 6th Feb she had a "spiffing time" at a dance and 17th Feb just says "Crikey!" There are entries about HMS Rodney going from St. Vincent to Antigua to Gilbaltar and 31st March has "Bob's wedding day" with a scribbelkd entry "R Des-forges" "Dick" and "Louie". 24th May "darling Teddy killed" Records 10th June Mum's and Bob's birthday (doesn't match above) July the navy arrived and left "good riddance" 16th Aug Aunt Edie's birthday.

*
Cissie Sophia Maud***Alfred Douglas Nicholls, Pikes Hill church 1938-9? of cancer?Her was farmer near Falmouth. There were children and she died 1970s?

photo of Cis with dog. PE and Gillian (her second daughter). Later, the jelous dog bit the child to regain attention.

Photo of haymaking at Penvose farm - Helen Crombie-Anderson, PE, Daphne in front with Janet and Gillian at back.

Photo on postcard, sepia and with scrappy writing "51 Killigrew St" and a separate, older, faded illigible message. Looks like doug left and isse right?

Motheaten old photo of group that probably has Cissie on bottom right.

Alice Elsie May, called Bobbie 10/6/1908? Born and went to school Cadgwith/Ruan Minor **see below
20/4/89 - see below
 

photo

 

with Rae at 6 months

draw no conclusions from the fact her dog was called Satan

May 1948 Falmouth..for more see RJM biog and gallery

 

 

 

Alice known as Bobbie married Richard Louis Desforges (aka Carson and/or Bowers?). The marriage was recorded 31/3/1931 at the Register Office Bodmin, with their addresses as The Barracks. She was 22 and a chargehand and he was a lance corporal in the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry (DCLI) number 5435091, whose father was a chef. PE holds copy as D16. The marriage was said to be bigamous and he may later have married another (trigamous?). Some problem with forgery and the mess funds brought other matters to light and it may have been in a tabloid in the summer months of 1943-4. It is said that a case was heard in London and the marriage was annulled, but I have no proof of any of that. Checked Mirrors May-Sept 1945 and April-Sept 1944 but no sign (although checked quickly).

In 1994 I tried to track him down and called in at the DCLI HQ in Bodmin. They had records to show that he joined them 2nd January 1930 as a 21 year old cook in London. Comments are recorded that he could run half a mile and play football and "V Good" is probably a reference to his health. He was graded 17/20 on induction, but nobody now knows what for. That is all we could find - copy held D20. Letterws from Rae seeking more infomation held D56.

An early letter to her from PE held D40.

Bobbie married James Crombie Anderson Feb 44 at Falmouth Registry Office. Note records vary as to whether he is Anderson, James Crombie or Crombie-Anderson, James. British Legion war memorial 1939-45 dedicated Emmanuel Baptist chruch 18/2/1951 has James Crombie as first names and surname Anderson. The crew list for HMS Maratta has "James Crombie Anderson, Ordinary Seaman D/SR 63417 age 24. Son of William Crombie Anderson and Helen Crombie Anderson; husband of Alice Elsie May Anderson, of Falmouth, Cornwall." The New Testament belonging to Rae (D61) shows her writing her name hyphenated as Rae Crombie-Anderson in Form VI of Falmouth County High School. Possible cert to be ordered ref April-June 1943 5c 306.

It is claimed he was 6'3" with ginger hair, younger than her and born at 2 Princes St. Edinburgh. He was a failed medical student with a younger brother called David. Invalided out of the Merchant Navy with a seeping wound, he started the war laying oil pipes in Falmouth but was called up into the RN, sailed with HMS Maratta and died when torpedoed in a Russian convoy in the Barents sea 25/2/44. PE has copies of two letters from him (held as D18a and b) Official record refers to D/SR63417 Ord Sea b Newhaven Midlothian (PE holds as D14). Unprocessed application for a certificate of death oveseas filled by RJM held D50 and correspondence on his entry to the roll of honour, plus stray refs to Mahratta held D55 and testify to Rae's interest in him, resurgent in the 1990's. Photo labelled "Daddy, before he had his glasses"also on the web site with a crew list has this "JAMES CROMBIE ANDERSON: D/SR 63417  (Photo No 65) Ordinary Seaman Age 24 Son of William Crombie and Helen Crombie Anderson, from Edinburgh, Scotland and husband of Alice Elsie May Anderson, from Falmouth, Cornwall. Plymouth War Memorial Panel 87 Column 3). Three more held PE. See also russianarcticconvoymuseum.co.uk and this photo with glasses. Copy of letter sent with Artctic Medal prvided by Kerry here.

August 1963(?) Bobby married Edwin (Eddie) Robert Moreton at Falmouth R. Office. Merchant seaman, from Acton and Catholic, he was younger than her. They later separated but did not divorce.

Alice (Bobby) and most of her family lived in a council house at 51 Killigrew St., although Rae lived mostly with Edgar James and Charlotte Hand. By 1948 Bobby was living at 1 Boslowick Close, where PE was born, with a bathroom and electricity.

There were four daughters:

Rae Jeanette Mary Desforges' birth certificate (12/1/32) shows her mother's address as 12, Coast Guard Cottages, Falmouth, where Alice stayed whilst giving birth. Father is shown as Lance Corp. 2nd Batt DCLI and date of registration is 17th Feb. Biog and photos.

Jonquil Evelyn Desforges (Jill) b 16/12/34, m. Ernie Pardon, issue Stephen and Kathryn. Moved to Nigeria then back to Killigrew St Falmouth. Photo 1948

Helen Crombie-Anderson b 10/3/40/41 at 2 Central Cottages Falmouth. Married George Lindo, issue Cameron and Kerry. Moved to Leicester. Photo 14th August 1950, on steps of Boslowick Close with PE.

Cameron m Sophie 15/9/2001 - Florence Evelyn b 24/2/04 and Edith Alice b. 2/5/07.

Kerry m Clark 19/1/97 - Finn b 20/2/01. Divorced 2008, now with Robert Millar. LIves in northern climes and hobbies include sheep-straddling.

Vivienne Crombie-Anderson 5/11/1943/4 51 Kiligrew St. Son Kim Moreton lived at 1 Boslowick Close for some time then m Kate, moved Holland and USA but back in Falmouth 2009 as Consultancy Services Manager at Wheal Jane Ltd. See election material from June 2009. Daughter Eva born c 2004,

Son Matthew m Alison Sarah Rolls (b. 13/10/72 in Wolverhampton). Divorced 2013. Daughter Tessa on 11/11/2002 then Miles Joseph 17th August 2007.

Viv and David still live 1 Boslowick Close. Davud died August 2016.

Photo of wedding with Bobby and Paul E. Photo 1958. Mathew with children, Helen and Jill outside Boslowick Close 2012,Matt on form 2012, Viv's grandchildren Aug 2014.

Bobby's died 16/4/89, partially I should think from a preference for Senior Service instead of food, although the official form says diabetes and heart failure. Her funeral service was at Trelawney Chapel, Penmount, 20th April, where she was scattered. PE holds a copy of the order of service as D12.

 

 
more photos - see also ejd biog and photos
 
Bobby, Rae holding Paul, Charlotte outside Boslowick Close, 1950Viv, Jill, Helen, Rae with Paul looking on at Zoe Vinall's wedding, 2006( ??)Three quarters of a coven at Newport Pagnell 2007 - left to right = Viv, Rae, Hen.
1 Boslowick Close July 1982

Beatrice Evelyn outside 12 Coastguard Cottages.

Note the orginal photo has handwriting (unidentified) which says "Auntie Betty & Baby Des. Both very good.£ Baby aged ?2 months. A phototcopy has Rae's handwriting in which she thinkjs she is the child. Also had an arrow to the right and "that way towards Castle Drive and what were then Army married quarters. Funny, Mum and Richard Louis never lived in them!!"

labelled "Rae, Janet, Jill taken up Green Lane Farm"

Check link with original - Who is Janet? I have two copies, one as a postcard with handwriting that needs to be identified.

Bobby Falmouth May 1948 - with Helen and Vivienne?Two women on a beach, one of whom is probably Cissie (second choice Bobby) - anyone have date or location? Back says "Me at Mrs Butler's (Pop's lodgings)". Helen outside Eddie's place?
Jill March 2010

Jill, Helen and Viv 2012

Kerry, Cameron, Stephen Pardon. Helen and George in the fron garden of Harrow View at Fiona's wedding (where K was bridesmaid).
2013 fromL-R Eva, Kim's daughter [12] Miles, Matt's son [6] Tessa ,Matt's daughter [10] Cadgwith postcard  

 

Downton spares and docs

Charles William and Alfred both born Alderbury Jan - March 1879

John born to Joseph and Mary (sic) 7/6/1840

1841 Cs Downton area has a section missing. From those present, have an entry for Tything of Wick and Walton for Henry (40, ag labourer), Mary 40 and children James (18), George (12), Charles (10), Henry (7), Robert (5) Rosina (3) and Thomas (1). Perhaps same farm but further on is Eliz (14) maybe farm servant.

marriage list from local historian D88.

Check stray refs to Christina Louise, Alderbury 59/195; Charles William Alderbury and Alfred ditto - "JFM 1879"