Treadway Russell Nash

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Treadway Russell Nash
Born 24 June 1724 (1724-06-24)
Clerkenleap, Kempsey
Died 26 January 1811 (1811-01-27) (aged 86)
Beveré, Worcestershire
Occupation Worcestershire antiquarian

Treadway Russell Nash (24 June 1724[1] – 26 January 1811[2][3]) was English clergyman, now known as an early historian of Worcestershire, and the author of Collections for the History of Worcestershire,[4] an important source document for Worcestershire county histories. He was a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He was buried at St Peter’s, Droitwich in the family vault.

Early life[edit]

He was born at Clerkenleap, in Kempsey. His family were from Ombersley. They had lands there and at Claines, and had later bought lands in the Reformation around St Peter’s, Droitwitch. He was related to James Nash and John Nash, both MPs for Worcester. His father Richard died in 1740, and Richard’s eldest son in 1757. As a result, Treadway Russell Nash inherited the Russell's Strensham estates from his brother, as well as the Nash estates, and took both names.

He was educated from the age of 12 at King’s College, Worcester and became a scholar at Worcester College, Oxford at age 15. In March 1749, he accompanied his brother on a trip to the continent, to aid Richard’s health. They visited Paris for about six weeks, before spending the summer “on the banks of the Loire”[1] They then visited “Bourdeaux, Thoulouse, Montpelier, Marseilles, Leghorn, Florence, Rome, Naples, Bologna, Venice, Padua, Verona, Milan, Lyons, and again Paris”; such expeditions are often known as the Grand Tour.

On his return in late summer 1751, Nash took up a post as Vicar of Ensham through his friend and future brother in law, John Martin. He also had an income as a tutor at Oxford. He took his Doctor of Divinity and left Oxford, having “gone out grand compounder”, following the death of his brother. He also left his post at Ensham in 1757. While at Oxford he had proposed a road from there to Witney, and also stood for Parliament.

Nash married Margaret Martin in 1758, the daughter of John Martin of Overbury. Nash and his wife moved to Claines where Nash had bought an estate and leased at house at Beveré. He later bought a house there. Then:

in the year 1759, as the furniture, &c. of Dr. Nash were being conveyed from London, an accident, as extraordinary as it was unfortunate, occurred. A bottle of aqua-fortis, which was in the waggon, being ill corked, opened, and the spirit running over some deal boxes which took fire and set the whole in a flame, property to the amount of 2000l. belonging to Dr. Nash, was unfortunately burnt, besides a good collection of books, and a very curious and valuable selection of drawings and prints, which he and his brother had purchased in France and Italy[5]

Work as an antiquary[edit]

In 1773, Nash determined that someone should collect together papers and records relating to Worcestershire. He later related that:

Above twenty years ago, coming into possession of a considerable real estate in this my native county, I determined, as far as was consistent with a proper attention to my own affairs, to serve my countrymen and neighbours by every means in my power. Thus I became a mere provincial man, confining my ambition within the ancient province of Wiccia, now commonly known by the name of Worcestershire. I had oftentimes wished that some one would write the history and antiquities of the county. I proposed the undertaking to several persons, offering them all the assistance in my power. I invited the Society of Antiquaries to choose a proper person, promising to open a subscription with three or four hundred pounds. Failing in success in all my applications, I offered my own shoulders, however unequal to the burthen, reflecting that though very little had been published, yet this work was in some degree made easy, because materials had been collecting for near 200 years.[6]

The reception to his work can be seen to be generally very positive. However, they were primarily source material, rather than a true history:

Dr Nash's volumes are indeed worthy of high praise, and contain materials for a valuable history, —they preserve and render accessible many important documents, but can be considered only as a work of reference. Like a sinuous but unnavigable river wandering through a great extent of country, that would form an excellent reservoir to a canal, so the Doctor's work, though itself unreadable, might be made the source of a very interesting volume.[7]

Republishing Samuel Butler[edit]

Nash produced a volume with a “literary memoir” of Samuel Butler"s Hudibras, a satirical poem about Cromwell’s Protectorate written after the Restoration. In 1797, Nash became Rector of Strensham, where Butler had grown up. It was reprinted extensively into the nineteenth century.[8] The edition includes illustrations after William Hogarth.

Death and legacy[edit]

Nash died in 1811, at his house in Beveré. He was buried in the family vault at St Peter's Church, Droitwich. His wife, Margaret, died a few months later, aged 78 on 21 May 1811. They were survived by their daughter Margaret, who had married John Somers in 1785.[9]

At his death, he left around £60,000, excluding his estate. He left his artistic collection from his travels in Italy and France to Worcester College, where it remains. His personal papers are at Eastnor Castle, except for his personalised volumes of the Collections, which had been sold and subsequently lost in a fire.[10]

Works[edit]

  • Treadway Nash (1781), Collections for the history of Worcestershire (Collections for the history of Worcestershire. ed.), [London]: Printed by John Nichols... 
  • Butler, Samuel (1869), Hudibras, New York: D. Appleton  with notes and a literary memoir by the Rev. Treadway Russel Nash

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Chambers, John (1820), Biographical illustrations of Worcestershire, Worcester: Printed for W. Walcott, OCLC 8562927  page 459
  2. ^ Chambers, p464
  3. ^ Burke’s peerage
  4. ^ T. Nash (1781), Collections for the history of Worcestershire (Collections for the history of Worcestershire. ed.), [London]: Printed by John Nichols... 
  5. ^ Chambers, p462
  6. ^ Quoted by Nichols Literary Anecdotes, in Chambers, p464
  7. ^ The Topography of Worcestershire, G Am On and Spina, G. E in The Analyst: a quarterly journal of science, literature, natural history, and the fine arts, Volume 1, Simpkin & Marshall, 1834
  8. ^ See the multiple reprints listed at the Open Library
  9. ^ "Obituary; with Anecdotes of remarkable persons". The Gentleman's Magazine (London) 81 (6): 603. June 1811. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  10. ^ Brian S. Smith, ‘Nash, Treadway Russell (1725–1811)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2005, accessed 6 Feb 2011

Further reading[edit]