Thomas Nash

Infobox Person
name = Thomas Nash



caption = Portrait of Thomas Nash
birth_date = Birth date|1593|6|20 (baptism)
birth_place = Stratford-upon-Avon, England
death_date = Dda|1647|4|4|1593|6|20
death_place = Stratford-upon-Avon, England
occupation = Possibly an assistant to the High Sheriff of Warwickshire

Thomas Nash (baptised 20 June 1593 – died 4 April 1647)cite book
last = Halliday
first = F. E.
authorlink = F. E. Halliday
title = A Shakespeare Companion: 1550–1950
publisher = Hazell Watson and Viney Ltd.
location = Aylesbury and London
year = 1952
pages = p.432
quote = Nash, Thomas (1593–1647), the eldest son of Anthony Nash, was christened at Stratford parish church on 20th June, 1593: ‘Thomas filius Anthonij Nash generosi’.
] was the first husband of William Shakespeare's granddaughter Elizabeth Barnard. He lived most of his life in Stratford-upon-Avon, and was the dominant male figure amongst Shakespeare's senior family line after the death of Dr. John Hall, Shakespeare's son-in-law, in 1635.cite book
last = Stopes
first = Charlotte Carmichael
title = Shakespeare's Family
year = 1901
pages = p.97
quote = After his death his son-in-law, Thomas Nash, came to reside at New Place, and took the position of head of the family. Indeed, in one of his letters he speaks of "Mrs. Hall, my mother-in-law, who lives with me."
]

Birth

Nash was baptised at the parish church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon and entered in the register as “Thomas filius Anthonij Nash generosi”, i.e. “Thomas, son of Anthony Nash gentleman”. His mother's maiden name was Mary Baugh and she came from Twyning, near Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire.cite book
last = Halliday
first = F. E.
authorlink = F. E. Halliday
title = A Shakespeare Companion: 1550–1950
publisher = Hazell Watson and Viney Ltd.
location = Aylesbury and London
year = 1952
pages = p.432
quote = Anthony, described as of Welcombe and Old Stratford, married Mary Baugh, of Twyning, near Twekesbury, their eldest son being Thomas
] His father Anthony, a friend of Shakespeare and farmer of his tithes, was born in Old Stratford.

Life

Nash entered Lincoln's Inn, one of the four Inns of Court in London, on 15 May 1616 at the at the age of 13, and was called to the bar on 25 November 1623, but there's no evidence that he ever went on to practice law.cite book
last = Matthew
first = Henry Colin Gray, et al.
title = Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
publisher = Oxford University Press
location = Oxford
year = 2004
pages = p.233
quote = Nash was admitted to Lincoln's Inn on 15 May 1616 and called to the bar on 25 November 1623. There is no evidence of his ever having practised as a lawyer but he seems to have taken over his father's role as agent for Hubaud, being described in interrogatories as ‘sometime servant to said Sir John Hubaud’ (records of corporation of Stratford upon Avon, BRU 15/5/159).
] The "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography" says that he may however have taken over a rôle that his father held in being an agent for Sir John Hubaud, a High Sheriff of Warwickshire; but Sir John Hubaud died in 1583, ten years before Thomas was born.

When Thomas's father died in 1622, he was bequeathed properties in Stratford: the Bear Inn (opposite the Swan) and a house in Bridge Street, and a piece of land called “the Butt Close by the Avon” where burghers used to shoot at archery butts.cite book
last = Eccles
first = Mark
authorlink = Mark Eccles
title = Shakespeare in Warwickshire
publisher = University of Wisconsin Press
location = Madison, Wisconsin
year = 1961
pages = p.122
quote = When he [Anthony Nash] died in 1622 he left six hundred pounds and plate to his wife Mary, five hundred pounds to his younger son John, and “that little land I have,” the Bear Inn and another house in Bridge Street and the Butt Close by the Avon, to his son Thomas (1593–1647), who studied at Lincoln's Inn and married Shakespeare's granddaughter in 1626.
] cite book
last = Fraser
first = Russell A.
title = Shakespeare: The Later Years
publisher = Columbia University Press
year = 1991
pages = p.263
quote = Dying rich, he left his son Thomas the Butt Close by the Avon where patriotic burghers used to shoot at butts or targets.
] Thomas was an executor to his father's will. It appears that Thomas held on to the Bear Inn: his father-in-law, Dr. John Hall, once treated someone that he called one of Thomas's servants “lying at the Bear”, presumably indicating that he was a publican or worker at that inn. Hall's first treatment for the poor heavily jaundiced servant elicited “seven Vomits”, and this and a series of further treatments “cured him perfectly”.cite book
last = Hall
first = John
authorlink = John Hall (physician)
title = Select Observations on English Bodies of Eminent Persons in desperate Diseases
publisher = J. D. for Benjamin Shirley
location = Under the dial of St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street [in London]
year = 1679
pages = p.8
]

Nash was part of the 1633 trimvirate, along with John Hall and the vicar of Harbury Richard Watts, that was to oversee the wranglings associated with Thomas Quiney and his lease on a house called The Cage.cite book
last = Schoenbaum
first = Samuel
authorlink = Samuel Schoenbaum
title = William Shakespeare: A Compact Documentary Life
publisher = Clarendon Press
location = Oxford
year = 1977
pages = p.295
quote = Around 1630 he tried to sell the lease of The Cage, but his kinsmen stopped him, and in 1633 assigned the lease in trust to a triumvirate consisting of Dr. Hall, Hall's son-in-law Thomas Nash, and Richard Watts, now Quiney's brother-in-law and the vicar of Harbury.
] Nash apparently lived in the house now known as Nash's House, before moving in with his mother-in-law next door at New Place after the death of Dr. Hall in 1635. Nash is known to have been a declared royalist, a supporter of Charles I and indeed a donor to the king's cause to the tune of £100,cite book
last = Halliwell-Phillipps
first = James Orchard
authorlink = James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps
title = Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare
publisher = Mssrs. Longmans, Green, and Co.
location = London
year = 1885
pages = Volume II, p.324
quote = It may be mentioned that amongst “the names of such persons within the burrough of Stratford-upon-Avon who by way of laone have sent in money and plate to the King and Parliament,” 24 Sept., 1642, is found as by far the largest contributor,—“Thomas Nashe esqr., in plate or money paid in at Warr:, 100"li".”
] which may have led to Queen Henrietta Maria and the king's entourage staying with Thomas and his family at New Place in July 1643.cite book
last = Joseph
first = Harriet
title = Shakespeare's Son-in-law: John Hall, Man and Physician
location = United States of America
year = 1976
pages = p.8
quote = In July 1643, eight years after Hall's death, Susanna, living at New Place, was called upon to act as hostess to the Catholic Queen, Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I. [...] Thomas Nash, Susanna's son-in-law, was a known supporter of Charles I, and New Place may have been singled out for the royal entourage for that reason.
]

According to Charlotte Carmichael Stopes, Nash's coat of arms was emblazoned “double quarterly of four, First, 1 and 4 argent on a chevron between three ravens' heads erased azure, a pellet between 4 cross-crosslets sable, for Nash; 2 and 3 sable a buck's head caboshed argent attired or, between his horns a cross patée, and across his mouth an arrow, Bulstrode. Second, 1 and 4, for Hall, 2 and 3 Shakespeare”.cite book
last = Stopes
first = Charlotte Carmichael
title = Shakespeare's Family
year = 1901
pages = p.101
]

Marriage

Nash married Elizabeth Hall, Shakespeare's granddaughter, on 22 April 1626 at Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon. Thomas de Quincey conjectured that this date was chosen to celebrate the birthday of Elizabeth's famous grandfather, who was baptised on 26 April and whose birthday is celebrated out of tradition alone on 23 April. Being 32 years old at the time of the marriage, Nash was nearly twice the age of his 18 year old bride.cite book
last = Honan
first = Park
authorlink = Park Honan
title = Shakespeare: A Life
publisher = Oxford University Press
location = Oxford
year = 2000
pages = p.399
quote = Elizabeth (who for her health had eaten ‘Nutmegs often’) in 1626 at the age of 18 married a man almost twice her age, Thomas Nash, the son of Anthony Nash whom the poet had remembered in his will with a ring.
] They had no children, and Elizabeth was the last direct descendent of Shakespeare.cite book
last = Joseph
first = Harriet
title = Shakespeare's Son-in-law: John Hall, Man and Physician
location = United States of America
year = 1976
pages = p.15
quote = Elizabeth and Thomas apparently had a happy life together though no children were born to them.
]

Death

Thomas Nash died in 1647, at the age of 53. In the will that he made on 20 August 1642 he bequeathed memorial rings (a common practice at the time) to Thomas and Judith Quiney, Shakespeare's son-in-law and daughter.cite book
last = Honan
first = Park
authorlink = Park Honan
title = Shakespeare: A Life
publisher = Oxford University Press
location = Oxford
year = 2000
pages = p.399
quote = His own will, made on 20 August 1642, about five years before he died, caused much difficulty. It disposed of Mrs Hall's property as if it were his own, and left New Place itself to his cousin, Edward Nash.
] Less straightforwardly, he also bequeathed property that did not belong to him, for example leaving New Place, the property of his mother-in-law Susanna Hall, to his cousin Edward Nash. Indeed, Nash even refers to Susanna in a letter as “Mrs. Hall, my mother-in-law, who lives with me”. Susanna successfully retained the house, which Shakespeare had bought in 1597, after some legal wrangling.Nash was buried in the chancel of Holy Trinity, immediately to the right of Shakespeare's as one faces the altar. To be accorded this honour required some kind of position recognised by the church as fitting, such as holding parish tithes. His burial inscription and epitaph reads:cite book
last = Chambers
first = Edmund Kerchever
authorlink = Edmund Kerchever Chambers
title = William Shakespeare: A Study of Facts and Problems
publisher = Clarendon Press
location = Oxford
year = 1930
pages = Volume II, p.12
]

HEERE RESTETH YE BODY OF THOMAS
NASHE, ESQ. HE MAR. ELIZABETH, THE
DAVG: & HEIRE OF IOHN HALLE, GENT.
HE DIED APRILL 4. A. 1647, AGED 53.

Fata manent omnes, hunc non virtute carentum
vt ncque diuitiis, abstulit atra dies;
Abstulit, at referet lux ultima; siste viator,
si peritura paras per male parta peris.

His widow Elizabeth remarried two years later.

References


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