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
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
My short biographies mostly cover GD members who lived in Bradford,
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.
IN THE GD
The basic records of the Handysides’ initiations were kept at the GD’s
Like almost all of the GD members in
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
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
Scottish freemasonry has its own headquarters in
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
Theosophical Society Membership Register March 1895 to June 1898 p123
November 1896: application William E MacFarlane of
Theosophical Society Membership Register June 1898-February 1901 p96 May
1899: application of Miss Annie Mills of
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
James Handyside was the elder son of Robert Handyside of Lauder, and his
wife Catherine, née Cruickshanks, who were married in
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
On the day of the 1861 census, Robert Handysides was not with his
family, he was at Newton House, Tibbermore, just outside
I couldn’t see James’ father on the 1871 census in
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
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
Familysearch Scotland-VR GS film number 1066695: baptism record of James
Handyside, son of Robert and Catherine.
Born 16 October 1845 in parish of
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
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
In 1881 James and Lucy Handyside were living at 6
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
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
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.
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!
Copyright SALLY DAVIS
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: