William Henry Nason Before marriage
William Henry Nason was raised in the green and pleasant land of the county of Cork in Ireland to which he returned as a young husband to live out his life. The street view from Google Maps above, shows, I think, the land on which his early home stood. It was called Newtown House and was the home of John Nason, Esq, and his wife Elizabeth - also a Nason but from a different branch of the family. Indeed this is the marriage which brought the two branches together. John does not seem to have had a trade or profession - he was simply a landowner - I think of around 2,000 acres. Hence the Esq, This land was not just Newtown House. I am pretty sure he owned houses in the village and lands elsewhere. And, interestingly, later in his life (so his story really) he seems to have lived in a house in Cloyne that he leased from Viscount Midleton.
Ballynoe, County Cork, Dublin,
Scisset, Yorkshire 1815-1840
For now, however, let us assume that the family lived in Newtown House, shown on the beautiful old Ordnance Survey map on the right. If you have an Ancestry subscription you will find the map attached to the Griffiths' Valuation records. The house is near the centre bottom of the map on the lefthand side of the road and is surrounded by fields - maybe an orchard, some bee hives?, a vegetable garden. The street view photo above is of the same location now, as the house no longer exists and I cannot find any pictures of it. The Landed Estates database names it as the Nason main seat, and his father always seems to be described as John Nason, Esq. of Newtown. so I am going to assume that this is where William Henry grew up. It is just south of the village of Ballynoe (which I think means Newtown) north east of the city of Cork in the very green Cork countryside. A very comfortable rural environment.
Landed Estates Database
An excellent site with details of the estates of the landed gentry of Ireland - this is a link to the Nason page.
Wherever it was it was sure to have been gracious living. A spacious country home with servants and very extensive grounds and gardens. I have yet to really work out how many children John and Elizabeth had - just one daughter (she is described on her marriage as 'only daughter'), and at least four sons because somewhere William Henry is described as the fourth son - elsewhere as the second. I think this is because the other three all died young (although at least one made it into adulthood), meaning that William Henry became the son and heir even though he had taken on the traditional role of the fourth son - the church.
As part of his duties as a landowner I believe John was certainly a juror, possibly a magistrate and maybe even a J.P. Almost all of the newspaper references I have found are of him serving on juries and committees, but I'm afraid I haven't paid to see the full newspaper articles that would tell me more - so I am guessing a little. So he would most likely have been a distant father. William may not have seen much of his mother either as he would more than likely have been brought up by the servants.
As to education. I am not sure. I have tried to find out how rich young boys were educated. Did they have private tutors or were they sent away to an exclusive boarding school? Educated he would have been though, for eventually he definitely went to Trinity College, Dublin in order to become a priest of the Church of Ireland. I wonder if he was a serious young man like the young boy in the portrait above, or whether he let loose at school and at university. One cannot tell. All one has is the fact that he entered university at the age of 18 in 1833 and graduated with a BA in 1838 at the age of 22. This may well mean that he missed the Rathcormac massacre - an ugly little incident in the hamlet of Gortroe in 1834, near Rathcormac where he was to spend most of his life, and which was not far away from his father's home. A peasant protest against the collection of tithes by the Protestant church turned bad when the panicked troops fired on the crowd. It would have been a disturbing incident for the family though, as they were part of the hated landed class and, I think may well have had property in Rathcormac. And he may well have been there, as it took place in December - a holiday period for students perhaps.
I find my next fact a little strange. After graduation - later in the year of 1838, he was ordained as a Deacon, but not in Ireland - in Durham Cathedral in England and by the Lord Bishop of Chester. Why was the Bishop of Chester ordaining priests and deacons in Durham Cathedral? - not that close to Chester - and anyway why was William being ordained in England? It has to be said that he was not the only Trinity College graduate in the list and at that time the Anglicans in Ireland were part of a combined English and Irish church - 'The United Church of England and Ireland', so maybe it was just the normal thing. Maybe his first posting was near Durham? And here is the bishop himself at right - John Bird Sumner, who later became the Archbishop of Canterbury. But he was an Englishman and had no connection with Ireland, so not a family friend.
I am assuming that William was then given the position of Prebendary Curate in the Parish of Scissett in Yorkshire, near Huddersfield, although he may have had a more junior position elsewhere - perhaps nearer Durham, for a Prebendary Curate is someone who is actually in charge of the parish but is not an actual vicar entitled to tithes. Scissett is a small village - and the church is shown at left. I am assuming that this is where he went for his first, or maybe, second posting, because this is where he was when he married in 1840, having been ordained as a priest, the year after his ordination as a deacon - this time in the Bishop of Chester's home cathedral of Chester. If it wasn't for the wedding notice that I found I would never have known that William's first posting as a priest was in Yorkshire. Interesting is it not? Was this his personal choice? Did he want to get away from home? If he did he either changed his mind or was persuaded back.
For on May 19th 1840 he married his cousin, Catherine Elizabeth Gaggin back in Ireland.
Marriage no. 2
Catherine Elizabeth Gaggin
Marriage no. 2