Collection date: Sept 1909
Mr (Thomas) Hands at Armscote (1849-1931): 7 country dances (description of figures FW2181-89 only) on 16 Sept 1909: Mr Hands was master of ceremonies for a convivial evening of country dancing at Mrs Stanton’s house in Armscote (see sep profile of Mrs Stanton). Presumably he called the dances and Sharp took down the figures. Sharp published six of Hands' dances in his (first) Country Dance Book published in Dec 1909. These were: Pop goes the Weasel II, Step and Fetch her (figures only), Flowers of Edinburgh, Haste to the Wedding I, Galopede, and We won't go home till morning.
By the time Sharp met Thomas Hands, he was already sufficiently familiar with the tunes and figures of some country dances. He had collected already 4 dances from William Ford in Devon in April 1907* and 6 from John Lavercombe in Surrey in June 1909.**
Thomas Hands was born at Shipston-on-Stour in October qr 1849 from a family of blacksmiths (grandfather and father both called John). Thomas was the first of at least 6 children of John and Sarah Hands. He trained as a blacksmith in his turn and in 1871 was working at Newbold village. He married Elizabeth Court at Quinton church on 31/12/1878. The couple had no children and became attached to the young vicar of Honington Rev Edward Boddington, serving as groom/gardener and as housekeeper over 3 decades. Honington is just 2 miles from Armscote.
Thomas Hands died in January qr 1931 aged 81 (ref 6d 306).
*William Ford's dances were: Nancy's Fancy, Three Meet (Pleasures of the Town), Step and Fetch Her (tune only), and Haste to the Wedding II. **John Lavercombe's dances were: Speed the Plough, Bonnets so Blue, Think a Think, Hunt the Squirrel, and Ribbon Dance. See their separate profiles.