The Hands and Payton families

William James Hands and his wife, Kate (née Payton), were W C Allsebrook’s parents-in-law. The Hands family had got to know Allsebrook during his time at Stratford-on-Avon, 1894-1897. Although Allsebrook and Evelyn Hands did not wed until 1909, the whole Hands family came to live at Badsey Vicarage in about 1904. William and Kate remained there until their deaths in 1918 and 1926 respectively.

William James Hands (1850-1918) was born at Shipston-on-Stour in 1850, the eldest of seven children of James Hands (c1821-1896) and his wife, Elizabeth (née Sheldon, 1828-1907). Both James and Elizabeth were from milling families. James was a miller and Elizabeth’s father, Thomas Izod Sheldon, was a miller and also a farmer; Elizabeth had been born at Burmington Mill, Warwickshire, in 1828, which remained in the family throughout the 19th century.

By the late 1850s, the Hands family had moved to Deddington in Oxfordshire. William Hands married Kate Payton (1855-1926) at Solihull in 1879. They had one daughter, Evelyn Kate (1880-1932), who was born at Burmington. William, like his father, was a miller, and was obviously working in the family mill at Burmington where his uncle, Jonathan Sheldon, was the miller (the 1881 census describes him as employing 15 men). By the time of the 1881 census, William, Kate and Evelyn were living at Kingham, Oxfordshire; William was described as a miller and corn merchant. By 1891, William, they had moved to 18 College Street, Stratford upon Avon, where William was a corn salesman.

A number of the documents relate to money matters, which were made fairly complicated by the complex family relationships between the Hands, Payton, Sheldon and Hurlston families. In January 1789, two weeks before his wedding to Kate Payton, William Hands took out a Life Assurance Policy with Scottish Provident Institution. Kate Payton was the second of three children of Edward Payton and Anne Brain (1814-1874). Kate’s father had been married before, to Ann Petipher Hurlston (1815-?), by whom he had four children: George Henry (Harry), Emma Anne, Joseph and James. William and Kate had a family connection in that William’s mother, Elizabeth, was the older sister of Edward Sheldon (1833-1916), who had married Kate’s cousin, Catherine (Kate) Hurlston (the daughter of Kate Payton’s aunt Mary, her mother’s twin sister). It is thought that William Hurlston (the father of Catherine Hurlston), may have been the older brother of Ann Petipher Hurlston. In March 1886, E M Sharp was appointed trustee; in July 1886, Emma Anne Payton (Kate’s half-sister) was appointed trustee; in October 1896, Reverend Thomas Hands (William’s brothers) and others were appointed trustees.

William Hands’ maternal grandfather, Thomas Izod Sheldon, died in 1878, but the final distribution of the estate was not settled until 1894. Legacies were received by Thomas Izod’s widow, Elizabeth; his children, Elizabeth Hands, William Sheldon, Charles Sheldon; his son-in-law, John Phillips Barford (widower of Ann) and John’s second wife, Mary; his grandchildren, Bessie Johnson, Sarah Ann Barford, John Sheldon Barford, Kate Barford (the children of his deceased daughter, Ann); his grandchildren, Helen M G French and Ethel G Whittle (the children of Jonathan Sheldon); his grandchildren, William James Hands, Thomas Hands, Arthur E Hands, Harriett Hands, Charles H Hands, Alfred Hands, Ellen Bessie Hands (the children of his daughter, Elizabeth Hands). The Burmington Mill had been undergoing financial difficulties, and Jonathan Sheldon had taken out a loan of £2,000; Jonathan’s son-in-law, Robert Whittle, bought the mill for £1800.