James Handyside and his wife Lucy Handyside were initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn on 24 September 1895 at its Amen-Ra temple in Edinburgh.  James chose the Latin motto ‘Ab oro usque ad mala’ and Lucy the Latin motto ‘Omne trinum perfectum’.  They don’t seem to have followed up their initiations by getting more involved.


This is one of my short biographies.  I haven’t found out much about James and Lucy Handyside.  However, what I have found out about them suggests that they were friends of William Charles Hopgood, who was a GD member in Bradford.


My short biographies mostly cover GD members who lived in Bradford, Liverpool and Edinburgh.  I’ve done what I can with those people, using the web and sources in London.  I’m sure there’s far more information on them out there, but it will be in record offices, the local papers...I’d need to be on the spot to look at them, and I’ve had to admit that life’s too short! 

Sally Davis

May 2017


My basic sources for any GD member are in a section at the end of the file.  Supplementary sources for this particular member are listed at the end of each section.



This is what I have found on JAMES HANDYSIDE and his wife LUCY HANDYSIDE née Hurt.



The basic records of the Handysides’ initiations were kept at the GD’s headquarters in London.  The records of the Amen-Ra temple were destroyed in 1901, but I think that if they had remained in the Order long enough to undergo the second initiation, to its inner 2nd Order, we would know about it. 


Like almost all of the GD members in Edinburgh, the Handysides joined as members of the Edinburgh Lodge of the Theosophical Society.  From the TS records it’s clear that theosophy was their main interest.



James and Lucy Handyside applied to join the Theosophical Society in March 1893.  At that time, all applicants had to have two sponsors who were already TS members.  The Handysides’ sponsors were George L Simpson; and Andrew Petri Cattanach who was a very committed member, acting as the Edinburgh Lodge’s secretary and librarian.  Although Lucy Handyside didn’t act as anyone’s sponsor in the future, James joined with George L Simpson to sponsor two other applicants, and with Andrew Cattanach to sponsor one.  I think all three men were friends and this is where William Charles Hopgood comes into the picture - not as a member of the TS in Edinburgh, but as a friend of James Handyside since the mid-1870s, when Hopgood was studying medicine at Edinburgh University.   See my file on Willam Charles Hopgood for John Hepburn Handyside, a mentor to Hopgood and probably a relation of James Handyside though I haven’t been able to prove quite how.


The Handysides continued to be members of the TS through two great crises in the organisation, crises in which a good proportion of the members left.  They also kept up their membership through a move to Glasgow, and then a move back to Edinburgh, in the years around 1900.  James was still a member at his death. Lucy continued to pay her annual subscription until March 1909, when she was one of another large group of members who resigned when Annie Besant was elected president-for-life and reinstated Leadbeater, about whom there had been so much scandal a few years before.



Scottish freemasonry has its own headquarters in Edinburgh.  I would need to go there to discover whether James Handyside was a freemason.  However, I think not: my researches into the members of the GD have shown that very few men were both freemasons and theosophists.



Theosophical Society Membership Registers 1889-1901.

Theosophical Society Membership Register Sep 1891-January 1893 p214: entries for James Handyside and Lucy Handyside.

James’ sponsorships of new applicants:

Theosophical Society Membership Register June 1893 to March 1895 p143 June 1894: application of March Cochrane, later Mrs Cuthbertson, of Edinburgh.  Second sponsor: George L Simpson. 

Theosophical Society Membership Register March 1895 to June 1898 p123 November 1896: application William E MacFarlane of Birkenhead.  Second sponsor: George L Simpson

Theosophical Society Membership Register June 1898-February 1901 p96 May 1899: application of Miss Annie Mills of Edinburgh, later of New York.  Second sponsor: A P Cattanach.





I thought for a brief period that Dr John Hepburn Handyside was a younger brother of James Handyside’s father Robert.  However, such census information as I have found for Robert Handyside, father of James, suggests that the relationship is not as close as that: John’s brother was born in Edinburgh; James’ father was born in Lauder in Berwickshire.


James Handyside was the elder son of Robert Handyside of Lauder, and his wife Catherine, née Cruickshanks, who were married in Edinburgh in 1842.  James was their second child, born in Edinburgh in October 1845.  He had an older sister, Agnes, and a younger brother, Robert.


Robert Handysides had probably started his working life as a footman but by 1851 he was working as a butler.  He was actually with his family on the day of the 1851 census, at 48 Pollerrow Edinburgh St Cuthberts; meaning, I suppose, that his current employer lived either in the city or just outside it.  The Handysides had a lodger, James Lindsay, a tailor from Forfar.  There were no live-in servants.


On the day of the 1861 census, Robert Handysides was not with his family, he was at Newton House, Tibbermore, just outside Perth, where he was the most senior member of a staff of seven servants.  The name of the head of the household has been rendered by Ancestry’s transcribers as ‘Henrietta Austerlong Spener’, which I’m fairly sure is incorrect; she was living at the house with her two children.  Catherine Handyside and her children - Agnes, James, and Robert (who was three) were now at 14 William Street, Edinburgh.  Agnes and James had left school.  I think the transcription of Agnes’ occupation can be translated as ‘hatmaker’s assistant’; and James had been apprenticed to a draper.  Again, Catherine Handyside had a lodger, a woman this time: Janet Alexander, who taught needlework.


I couldn’t see James’ father on the 1871 census in Scotland but he wasn’t at home with his family.  Catherine had moved a few doors down the street, to 9 William Street, and she had five boarders so I think you can say she was now running a boarding house.  James and Robert were still living at home.  Robert was at school, James was working in the office of one of Edinburgh’s doctors, and I wonder if that’s how he met William Charles Hopgood.



Despite the references to her name as Hurte with an ‘e’ in the Scottish Probate records, Hurt without an ‘e’ is how Lucy was registered.


Lucy Handyside was born in 1848, daughter of William Hurt and his wife Jane, née Redfern.  I only found Lucy on a census once before her marriage.  On census day 1851 she was living with her parents in Misterton, a village in Nottinghamshire, north-west of Lincoln.  William Hurt was the minister of the village’s baptist church.


William Hurt is listed in the 1851 Religious Census; but then he and his family seem to disappear from the records.  I couldn’t find them on the censuses for 1861 and 1871; I tried with Hurt, Hurte, Hunt and even Hart, with no success.  I wondered if William Hurt had died; but there were more death registrations 1851-71 than I expected for men with that name and I couldn’t identify any of them as Lucy’s father.   don’t know what happened to Lucy Hurt between census day 1851 and census day 1881. 


Sources: censuses 1851-71, freebmd birth and marriage records.


Familysearch Scotland-VR GS film number 1066692: marriage of Robert Handyside to Catherine Cruickshanks, daughter of George Cruickshanks, 29 April 1842 in the parish of Edinburgh. 

Familysearch Scotland-VR GS film number 1066695: baptism record of James Handyside, son of Robert and Catherine.  Born 16 October 1845 in parish of Edinburgh.

Topographical Dictionary of Scotland volume 1 1846 p633/647 has Newton House Tibbermore listed.  At www.carehome.co.uk it’s now a care home.


At www.nottshistory.org.uk p11 of the 1851 Religious Census.  Entry for the Baptist Chapel at Misterton.  Built before 1800.  Current minister William Hurt.  Congregation: 21 in the afternoons; 18 in evenings.




James Handyside married Lucy Hurt at some time during the 1870s.  There’s no registration of the marriage on freebmd, so I presume they got married in Edinburgh.

If James Handyside finished his apprenticeship at the drapers, he didn’t ever work in a draper’s shop.  Nor did he stay long working in the doctor’s surgery.  By 1881 and still in 1901, he was employed as a book-keeper in the offices of an Edinburgh coal merchant.


In 1881 James and Lucy Handyside were living at 6 Gladstone Terrace.  At that point they didn’t employ any live-in servants.  By 1891 they had moved to 7 Maxwell Street, Morningside Road, and were employing the basic one general servant.  On census day 1901, James was still working for a coal merchant - presumably the same coal merchant as before - but he and Lucy were now in Glasgow, at 3 Arundel Drive.  They had no live-in servant on that day; perhaps they were between servants, or had preferred to spend the money on a larger house in a better district.  The stay in Glasgow was, or turned out to be, temporary.  By 1905 they were back in Edinburgh, first in 27 South Clerk Street and then in 19 West Nicolson Street.



James Handyside died in June 1905, Lucy in November 1931.  James hadn’t made a Will, so perhaps his death was sudden.  Lucy had learned from earlier mistakes and made her own Will in 1921.  Her executor was Ada Blanch Mellor, a neighbour on South Clark Street.  I don’t think Lucy and James had had any children.



Scottish Probate Calendar 1876-1936:

Entries from 1905: James Handyside, died 27 June 1905.

Entries from 1931: Lucy Hurte or Handyside, died 7 November 1931.




BASIC SOURCES I USED for all Golden Dawn members.


Membership of the Golden Dawn: The Golden Dawn Companion by R A Gilbert.  Northampton: The Aquarian Press 1986.  Between pages 125 and 175, Gilbert lists the names, initiation dates and addresses of all those people who became members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or its many daughter Orders between 1888 and 1914.  The list is based on the Golden Dawn’s administrative records and its Members’ Roll - the large piece of parchment on which all new members signed their name at their initiation.  All this information had been inherited by Gilbert but it’s now in the Freemasons’ Library at the United Grand Lodge of England building on Great Queen Street Covent Garden.  Please note, though, that the records of the Amen-Ra Temple in Edinburgh were destroyed in 1900/01.  I have recently (July 2014) discovered that some records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have survived, though most have not; however those that have survived are not yet accessible to the public.


For the history of the GD during the 1890s I usually use Ellic Howe’s The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order 1887-1923.  Published Routledge and Kegan Paul 1972.  Foreword by Gerald Yorke.  Howe is a historian of printing rather than of magic; he also makes no claims to be a magician himself, or even an occultist.  He has no axe to grind.


Family history: freebmd; ancestry.co.uk (census and probate); findmypast.co.uk; familysearch; Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage; Burke’s Landed Gentry; Armorial Families; thepeerage.com; and a wide variety of family trees on the web.


Famous-people sources: mostly about men, of course, but very useful even for the female members of GD.  Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  Who Was Who. Times Digital Archive.


Useful source for business and legal information: London Gazette and its Scottish counterpart Edinburgh Gazette.  Now easy to find (with the right search information) on the web.


For the GD members who were freemasons, the membership database of the United Grand Lodge of England is now available via Ancestry: it gives the date of the freemason’s first initiation; and the craft lodges he was a member of.

To take careers in craft freemasonry further, the website of the the Freemasons’ Library is a good resource: //freemasonry.london.museum.  Its catalogue has very detailed entries and the website has all sorts of other resources. 

You can get from the pages to a database of freemasons’ newspapers and magazines, digitised to 1900.  You can also reach that directly at www.masonicperiodicals.org. 


Wikipedia; Google; Google Books - my three best resources.  I also used other web pages, but with some caution, as - from the historian’s point of view - they vary in quality a great deal.


To put contemporary prices and incomes into perspective, I have used www.measuringworth.com/ukcompare which Roger Wright found for me.  To help you interpret the ‘today’ figure, measuringworth gives several options.  I pick the ‘historic standard of living’ option which is usually the lowest, often by a considerable margin! 




9 May 2017


Find the web pages of Roger Wright and Sally Davis, including my list of people initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn between 1888 and 1901, at: