Nash Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Nash Meaning
Some surnames have retained an Old English prefix. The root “ash”
of Nash probably originated as a place name of an ash grove. Robert atten Nash, Robert who lived
by the ash, got shortened over time to Robert Nash. The name
might have started up independently in different parts of the
country. Thus Nashes may not be related or connected.
Selected Nash  Resources on The Internet

Select Nash

Wales. In Wales, the name
first appeared in Haverfordwest in the early 1300’s in its latinate
(fraximo meaning “ash”)
form. Nash was an ancient parish near Pembroke and this area of
south Pembrokeshire was and has remained an English enclave.

By the 1500’s, a Nash family owned an
estate at Great Nash in Llangwm parish and were local gentry.
These Nashes shared a similar coat of arms with the Nashes in
Worcestershire and they may possibly have been related. The
Nashes at Tenby included two brothers, John and Thomas, who left
Pembrokeshire for America in the early 1700’s.

England. Early history
might suggest that there was a western bias to the Nash name in

There was a place near Bristol called Naish
which gave
rise to Naishes and Nashes. Beau Nash was the arbiter of
in Bath in the early 1700’s. The Nashes of the Forest of Dean in
Gloucestershire trace back to two brothers there, John and Richard, in
the 1770’s.

Worcestershire A
family from Ombersley owned wool mills along the banks
of the river Salwarpe during Elizabethan times. John Nash became
the mayor of Worcester and used his wealth to found the Nash hospital
there in 1664. His house, Nash House in the town center, still
stands. His brother James acquired The Noak in Martley and these
Nashes remained the
squires of Martley
for the next three hundred

SE England By
the 19th century, however, the Nash demographics in England had
changed. More than 40 percent of
the Nashes were then living in London and the southeast. Some of
them may
have come through
eastward migration. William Nash from Worcester was the “opulent
grocer” who served as Lord Mayor
of London in 1772. John Nash, the architect who was primarily
responsible for the look of Regency London, was from a Welsh

There had been Nashes in Buckinghamshire and Suffolk
from Elizabethan times. The numbers in
south Buckinghamshire, around Chesham and Beaconsfield, later became
sizeable. John Nash and his wife
Susannah ran the Brick Mould public
house at Hedgerley between 1771 and 1815.
James Nash founded the Chesham brewery in 1841.

In nearby west Hertfordshire there had been a
long-established family of Nash blacksmiths dating back before 1750. There were smiths called James
Nash recorded in Abbots Langley, Berkhamsted, Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead,
Kings Langley, Tring and Wilstone in the latter part of the 18th century.

A Nash family from
Beaconsfield had taken up residence at Upton Court in 1707 and owned a
brick-making firm in Slough in early Victorian times.
These Nashes had also acquired land at Langley
around the year 1800. It was from this
family that the painters Paul and John Nash emerged a century or so

Ireland. Nashes in Ireland
can be traced back to the 13th century in Limerick. A
Nash/Naish family at Askeaton in Limerick dates back to 1630. The
American actor J. Carroll Naish
came from this line. Fewer Nashes are in Limerick today.
The potato
famine of the 1840’s caused many to leave, to the
US, Canada, and Australia.

Nashes from Somerset had settled
in the 1590’s in Bandon in Cork. The
name subsequently became widespread throughout Cork.

America. There were two
early Nash arrivals into New England whose family trees have been well

  • Thomas Nash reached New Haven in
    1640. The Rev. Sylvester Nash compiled a history of this family The Nash Family in 1853, a book
    which has been recently updated by Deborah Lee Rothery.
  • James and Alice Nash came to
    Weymouth around the same time. Their history has been traced in
    Richard H. Benson’s 1998 book The
    Nash Family of Weymouth, Massachusetts

Francis Nash settled in Braintree, Massachusetts around 1680. His
descendants later moved to Maine. Amaziah Nash was a shipbuilder there
in the early 19th century but then lost his money and moved out to
Iowa. Noah Nash fought in the Revolutionary War and his
descendants have numbered recently five generations of Nathaniel Cushing
from Wenham, Massachusetts.

Virginia John
Nash came to Virginia from Wales around 1720 and bought a large
estate at the fork of the Bush and Appotomattox rivers which he named
Templeton Manor. He and his wife Anne had eight children –
including two
famous brothers
, Francis Nash, a hero of the
Revolutionary War, and Abner Nash, Governor of North

Nash in the South
Later Nashes owned plantations in Mississippi and Louisiana.
One colorful character was Christopher Columbus Nash, a Louisiana
merchant who fought his battles for white supremacy in the
Reconstruction Era. On the other side was Charles Nash, the only
African American to represent Louisiana during this period. In
the middle, perhaps, were the “redbones,” a mixed race people in
Louisiana believed to have started with Thomas Nash who had arrived
from North Carolina in the 1780’s. Emmanuel Nash, born in
Rapides parish in 1843, lived onto 1947.

Heading West
Other Nashes went west. Oscar and Emily Nash left upstate New
York in 1870 for a new life in Nebraska. Fred Nash started a small
candy and tobacco store in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota in 1885.
This business went on to be the multibillion food distribution company,
Nash Finch.

Irish The early
Nash immigrants were English. They were replaced by
Irish as the nineteenth century went on. Their most famous son was Pat
Nash, one of the political bosses of Chicago in the 1930’s (although he
had a reputation for honesty).

Jewish More
recently, there have been
Jewish immigrants who adopted the anglicized Nash name. Nash
means “ours” in Yiddish. Perhaps the best known of these Nashes
was Jack Nash, a hedge fund pioneer and Jewish philanthropist from New
York who died recently.

Canada. Samuel Nash, a
Loyalist, arrived at Stoney Creek, Ontario from Connecticut around
1800. The home that he built there, now called the Nash-Jackson
House, stayed with the family until 1999 and has been preserved as a

Irish Nashes also came to Canada. The earliest was probably
William Nash and his family from county Cork who came to Nova Scotia in
1798. Martin Nash, a discharged soldier, settled with his family
in Goulbourn, Ontario in 1820; and Thomas and Margaret Nash arrived in
Ontario from Tipperary around 1831.

Australia. The first
fleet sailed from England in 1787 carrying marine William Nash and his
common law wife Maria Haynes. They were the progenitors of an
extensive Nash family in Australia.

Other early settlers were:

  • Andrew Nash who acquired the Woolpack Inn in Parramatta in
    1821 and became well-known for the prowess of his racehorses.
  • and James Nash later who discovered gold
    along the Mary river in Queenland and helped precipitate the second
    Australian gold rush.

There were also Nash convicts in Australia. Some thrived; Robert
Nash, transported on the Albemarle
in 1791; John Nash on the Eleanor
in 1831; and Michael Nash from Limerick, on the Rodney in 1851.


Select Nash Miscellany

Richard Nash from Pembrokeshire.  The Nashes were a Welsh gentry family.  Their arms portray a black
shield with a silver chevron, three running greyhounds, and three green
ash branches.  Surprisingly, the arms are often shown without the
three ash branches, as in the drawing made for the souvenir coaster
made in Wales.

Richard Nash was descended from a second son who did not inherit the
family estate of Great Nash in Llangwm parish in Pembrokeshire.
Like his father he made his own way in London.  There is no
evidence that he finished his training as a lawyer, as his father had
done.  But he plied his own cases before the Court of Chancery in
London.  He also sailed on a merchant ship with Sir Francis Drake
on the famous but disastrous campaign in Portugal in 1589.

Numerous other references were found by Derek Williams to Richard’s
work as a mercer, his service in the government of Carmarthen, and even
his troubled marital relations with his wife, who (he claimed) was
alienated from him by the machinations of her brother.

Nash/Naish.  I am told that the name Nash is also derived from a place
called Naish situated near Bristol.   I live close to Bristol
and my Naish ancestors came from this area.  There are several
places with the word Naish in them, for instance Naish’s Cross, Naish’s
Street, Naish Road, Naish Lane, and Naish House.

I think these were named after the family, rather than
the family being named after them.  I always told the ash tree
theory.  Also this is the only part of the world where people
pronounce the name correctly, with a silent “i” without being told, which is another indication that the name originates in this area.

Thomas Nash in Stratford.  Thomas Nash was the first husband of Shakespeare’s
granddaughter, Elizabeth Hall.  Nash’s house, built beside New
Place, is the house where Shakespeare retired and is the least
impressive of the properties. However, while Shakespeare’s New Place is
long gone, Nash’s house has survived.  It has the town’s only
general history exhibit.

Reader Feedback: Nashes in Ireland.  The name Nash was
recorded in Ireland as early as the 13th century.  A
John Nash was Sheriff of the city of
Limerick in 1271, 1315, 1327, 1337 and 1342.   Nash is
believed to be a name brought into County Limerick in the reign of King
John.  Nash descendants are still to be found in West Limerick

There were other Nashs who entered Ireland
later at the time of the English plantation of Munster in the late
16th/early 17th century.  They were the
Nashes who settled in county Cork which you referred to in your

Regards,  Patricia McKenna nee Nash (

Thomas Nash – Immigrant to New Haven.  In July 1637, from the ship Hestor,
a company landed in Boston, Massachusetts.  They were formed
principally by merchants out of London whose wealth and standing at
home had enabled them to come out under more favorable auspices than
any company that had hitherto sought these shores.  In that
company, as is supposed, came Thomas Nash with his wife and five
children.  He was by occupation a gunsmith, a trade which admitted
to an easy transition to that of blacksmith.

Nine months later, in March 1638, the whole company
sailed from Boston and in about a fortnight landed at a place called
Cuinipac, now New Haven.

Thomas Nash was the only gunsmith in the New Haven
colony.  He repaired fowling pieces and also mended clocks in his
backyard shop.  His
home lot, as shown in an old map of New Haven, was on the west side of
State Street, about a third of the way between Chapel and Elm Street.

He was generally mentioned in the records in an
affectionate way as Brother Nash and, in his declining years, was
occasionally appointed to undemanding
public duties.  He died in May 1658.

Beau Nash in Bath.  In 1704, Nash became master of ceremonies at the rising spa town of
Bath, a position he retained until his death.  He lived in a house
on Saw Close, now at the main entrance to the Theatre Royal, and kept a
string of matrons.  He played a leading role in making Bath the
most fashionable resort of 18th century England.

His position was unofficial, but nevertheless he had extensive
influence in the city until 1761.  He would meet new arrivals in
the city and judge whether they were suitable to join the select
company of 500 to 600 people in the centre of Bath society; match
ladies with appropriate dancing partners at each ball; pay the
musicians at such events; broker marriages; escort unaccompanied wives;
and regulate the gambling that went on.

He was notable for encouraging a new informality in manners, breaking
down the rigid barriers which had previously divided the nobility from
the middle class patrons of Bath and even from the gentry.

Patriot Sons, Patriot Brothers.  Patriot Sons, Patriot Brothers is the story of a Prince Edward County, Virginia family and two sons who became North Carolina heroes.

Francis Nash (1742-1777) was a hero of the American
Revolution, who gave his life for his country and his name to
Nashville, Tennessee and various other Nashvilles elsewhere.  He
died on a Pennsylvania battlefield at the age of 35 serving under
George Washington while in command of 2,000 men.

Abner Nash (1740-1786) was the First Speaker of the North
Carolina House of Commons, second patriot Governor of North Carolina,
and member of the Second Continental Congress.  His contributions
to the patriot cause during the early years of the revolution and
during the southern campaign of 1780-1781 were no less significant than
his brother’s.

With thoroughly researched detailed notes, an extensive
bibliography, and a text that is unparalleled in its documentation of the
correspondence of the Nash brothers with historical figures of the day, Patriot Sons, Patriot Brothers
will be an invaluable addition to your American history collection.

Nash Casualties from Martley in the Great War.  Richard and Edith Nash of The Noak in Martley had three sons,
George, James and Slade.  All three of the boys went to School
House at King’s School in Worcester.  George and James went onto
scholarships at Cambridge and Oxford.  However, the War broke out
in 1914 and both young men enlisted.  Within a year they were both

James was the first to fall in action, in April 1915 in
the trenches near Ypres.  He was killed by a bullet fired from
long range.  He was just 21 and was buried in the Kemmel military
cemetery in Flanders.

Just two months later, George was seriously wounded
during the battle at Hooge.  An operation was thought to have been
successful but he later deteriorated.  His mother braved the
dangers of traveling abroad during the war and was with him when he
died at the end of June, aged 24.  She brought his body back to
Worcester and it was taken on a gun carriage first to The Noak and then to St. Peter’s
for the funeral service.

Later, the George Nash Divinity Prize and the James Nash
Classical Prize were endowed in their honor, both for the fifth form
pupils of King’s School.

Nathaniel Cushing Nash.  Nathaniel Cushing Nash, a Mayflower descendant on both
sides of his family, was the fifth successive member of the family to
bear this name (“I guess our family had trouble coming up with names,”
explained his father).  He was also the fourth generation of his
family to attend the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham,

A reporter on the New
York Times
, he was on board the plane carrying Commerce
Secretary Ronald Brown which crashed into a Croatian mountain in 1996,
killing all thirty five of its passengers.

Seated among the journalist’s family and friends at his
funeral service at the First Church in Wenham were some two dozen of
his newspaper colleagues, including the Times’ publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr.


Select Nash Names

  • Thomas Nash was an Elizabethan pamphleteer, poet, and satirist.  
  • Francis Nash, the American hero killed in the Revolutionary War, left his name to Nashville, Tennessee. 
  • John Nash was the architect who transformed the look of London in the early 1800’s. 
  • Paul Nash from London was one of the few English painters of note in the inter-war period. 
  • Patrick Nash was one of the political bosses in Chicago in the 1930’s. 
  • Ogden Nash, from Rye New
    York, wrote light whimsical verse which was popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s. 
  • Walter Nash, who emigrated to
    New Zealand as a young boy, was one of the founding members of the Labor party and rose through its ranks to become Prime Minister of New
    Zealand in the late 1950’s. 
  • John Forbes Nash, the brilliant
    American mathematician from West Virginia who succumbed to schizophrenia, was portrayed by
    Russell Crowe in the film A
    Brilliant Mind. 
  • Jack Nash, a refugee from Nazi Germany, became a hedge fund pioneer and Jewish philanthropist in New York. He died in 2008.

Select Nash Numbers Today

  • 24,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in West Midlands)
  • 21,000 in America (most numerous
    in Texas).
  • 19,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Nash and Like Surnames

These names are locational, describing someone who lived in those medieval times by the side of a bank, or by a barn or a lane or a shaw (which means a wood) or a wood and so forth.  Both the oak tree and the ash tree have in fact provided locational surnames – Oakes and Nash (from atten Ash).  Here are some of these locational surnames that you can check out.





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