Collection date: Apr 1909
Mrs Caroline Hands at Snowshill (1844-1913): age 65, 1 song 'The Bitter Withy' on 9 Apr 1909: Snowshill is 3 miles S of Broadway: Sharp’s handwriting is unclear for this singer in both his field notebook and Folk Tunes entry (FT2153). It can be read as if Mr John Hands is the singer, ‘age 65’. But in English Folk-Carols (Novello 1911) p5 Sharp clearly attributes the song to Mrs Hands. It was quite usual at this time to call women by their husband’s name or initials. Further confirmation is that Caroline would indeed have been 65 at the encounter with Sharp, whereas husband John would only have been 61 (he was baptised 4/7/1847 and in censuses gave his age as 33 in April 1881, 43 in 1891 etc).
Caroline Aston was baptised at Snowshill on 16/6/1844, youngest child of Richard Aston, labourer and his wife Sarah. On 21/4/1877, aged 33, she married John Hands also of Snowshill, shoemaker, son of William Hands, labourer and his wife Ann. John and Caroline Hands had 4 children. John was parish clerk for 41 years from 1884. In 1901 two sons George, 23 and William 18 were both still at home, working as agricultural labourers (ref RG13/2456 f8 p5). Caroline Hands was buried at Snowshill on 8/10/1913 aged 69.