Nash, Thomas (1588-1648) (DNB00)

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NASH, THOMAS (1588–1648), author, was second son of Thomas Nash of Tappenhall, Worcestershire. He matriculated as ‘Thomas Naishe’ from St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, on 22 March 1604–5, aged 17 (Oxf. Univ. Reg. Oxf. Hist. Soc. II. ii. 281), and entered the Inner Temple in November 1607 (Members of Inner Temple, 1571–1625, p. 109). He owned some property at Mildenham Mills, Claines, Worcestershire, but, unlike most members of the family who resided in the parish of St. Peter's, Droitwich, he was a staunch loyalist, and was deprived of his possessions. The misfortunes of Charles I are said to have distressed him so greatly as to have caused his death. He died on 25 Aug. 1648, and was buried in the Temple Church (cf. Nash, Worcestershire, i. 327, and ii. Suppl. 24–5).

He published ‘Quaternio, or a Fourfold Way to a Happy Life, set fourth in a Dialogue between a Countryman and a Citizen, a Divine and a Lawyer, by Tho. Nash, Philopolitem,’ dedicated to Lord Coventry, London, for John Dawson, 1633, 4to; 2nd edit., by Nicholas Okes for John Benson, 1636, 4to. A new edition, dated 1639, bore the new title ‘Miscelanea, or a Fourefold Way.’ After a conventional comparison of the advantages of town and country life, Nash passes a eulogy on law, the whole of which he deduces from the ten commandments. He denounces the cruelty of field sports, expresses a hatred of separatists, and mentions Rous, keeper of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and Captain Thomas James [q. v.] as his friends. An epistle addressed by Nash to ‘my worthy friend and fellow templar Captain James’ is prefixed to James's ‘Strange and Dangerous Voyage to discover the North-West Passage’ (1633). Nash also published a translation from the Latin of Evenkellius, entitled ‘Gymnasiarchon, or the School of Potentates,’ by T. N. Philonomon, 1648. Half the volume is occupied by ‘illustrations and observations’ by the translator.

Another Thomas Nash (1593–1647), eldest son of Anthony Nash of Welcombe and Old Stratford, Warwickshire, by Mary, daughter of Rowland Baugh of Twining, Gloucestershire, was baptised at Stratford-on-Avon on 20 June 1593. He entered Lincoln's Inn in 1619. His father, who died in 1622, and a younger brother John, who died in 1623, are remembered in Shakespeare's will of 1616 by gifts of rings. Thomas was intimate with Shakespeare's family. He was executor of his father's will in 1622, and received under its provisions two houses and a piece of land. On 22 April 1626 he married Elizabeth Hall, daughter of Dr. John Hall (1575–1635) [q. v.], by his wife Susannah, Shakespeare's elder daughter. On the death of Hall in 1635 Nash and his wife became owners of New Place, formerly Shakespeare's residence, and removed thither. On 24 Sept. 1642 he advanced 100l. to the cause of Charles I, and was the largest contributor among the residents of Stratford. Nash died at New Place on 4 April 1647, and was buried in the chancel of Stratford Church next day (Dugdale, Warwickshire, ed. 1656, p. 518). He had no children. His widow married, 5 June 1649, Sir John Barnard, and died at Abington, Northamptonshire, on 17 Feb. 1669–70.

Dallaway in his ‘West Sussex,’ ii. 77, incorrectly credits Thomas Nash of Stratford-on-Avon with the paternity of three sons: Thomas Nash, who purchased the manor of Walberton, Sussex; Walter Nash, B.D.; and Gawen Nash. Both Walter and Gawen are said by Dallaway to have been fellows of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, but of Gawen only is this true.

Gawen Nash (1605–1658), son of Thomas Nash of Eltisley, Cambridgeshire, butler of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, was admitted a sizar of that college in 1620, and a fellow on 20 Oct. 1627. He has verses before William Hawkins's ‘Varia Corolla,’ 1634. After serving as incumbent of St. Mary's, Ipswich, he became rector of St. Matthew's, Ipswich, in 1638. He was afterwards charged with superstitious practices (Tanner MS. ccxx. 32). He was appointed to the vicarage of Waresley, Huntingdonshire, in 1642, and was ejected from it in 1646. According to Walker's ‘Sufferings’ (p. 319), he was also imprisoned for refusing the engagement. He died in 1658 (information kindly forwarded by the master of Pembroke College, Cambridge). A son of the same name graduated B.A. from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1671 (M.A. 1675).

[For the Worcestershire Thomas Nash see Hunter's manuscript Chorus Vatum in Addit. MS. 24487, f. 85; Dallaway's Sussex, p. 73; his works. For the Warwickshire Thomas Nash see pedigree in Addit. MS. 24494, f. 14 (Collectanea Hunteriana); Halliwell-Phillipps's Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare; and art. Hall, John, (1575–1635).]

S. L.