Thomas Nash of Finnstown

James and Anne Nash’s eldest son was Thomas James Nash who, in Burke’s, is described as being “of Rockfield (or Ballyheen), Tullig House, Seamount, Howth and Finnstown, co. Dublin”. He was born on 8th June 1825, most probably in County Cork, where his parents were living. The death of his father, James Nash, on 23rd August 1849 left Thomas a wealthy landowner at the age of 24. Seven years later, on 8th July 1856 Thomas Nash married Juliet Isabella Grainger.

Juliet Nash’s father, Richard Grainger (1797 – 1861), was an entrepreneurial master-planner from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and is celebrated for designing many of the city’s finest 19th century neo-classical buildings. In 1831, determined to halt Newcastle’s steady slide into industrial, disease riddled blackness, Grainger invested in a dilapidated 13-acre estate in central Newcastle and devised a spacious new centre for the city. He had his offices on Clayton Street and, for a short time, lived just outside the city in the former Hinde mansion of Elswick Hall, now a nursing home. By 1839, Grainger had built the Markets, the Monument, the Theatre Royal, Gret Street, Grainger Street and several cross streets. Unfortunately, by 1841, Grainger was bankrupt and it fell to other, less scrupulous individuals to cash in on his courage. He continued to work as a developer and planner until his sudden death at his Clayton Street office at the age of 64 on 4th July 1861. When he died in 1861 he owed £128,000 and had only £17,000 assets, although some property had been transferred to his eldest son, Thomas and it may be imagined that Juliet Nash received at least something in the will. Above his grave in Newcastle’s St. John’s church is this inscription: A citizen of Newcastle needs no reminder of the genius of Richard Grainger... the principal street in the centre of the city is the most splendid and enduring monument to that genius. Richard Grainger’s wife, Rachel, was a daughter of Joseph Arundel.

It is not known what condition Finnstown was in when the Nash’s purchased the property. The estate is said to have been almost 3000 acres. It seems likely that Thomas commissioned an architect to redesign the front rooms of the house shortly after the purchase.