Jane NashView full burial details
in the cemetery
JANE NASH (NÉE MERSHAM) (1855-1915)
Jane was born in Berkhamsted in 1855; the first of six children born to James Mersham and Elizabeth Samms. She was baptised at St Peter’s Church on 26 September 1858 with her sister, Charlotte Esther (1857-1914) and brother, Edward James (-).
In 1861 Jane was attending school and residing at Pightle (now Highfield Road), with her parents and sisters, Charlotte and Matilda Alice (born Matilda Hannah) (1859-1916). Lodging with the family were Elizabeth Slade and her children, Agnes and Janet. Also lodging in the household was Jane Mills, a married woman originally from London.
Over the next four years, the family experienced joy and heartache with the births and infant deaths of two daughters, Jane’s youngest sisters, Elizabeth Lucy (1863-1864) and Helen (1865-1865).
The family were still in Highfield Road at the time of the 1871 Census. Jane had now left school and she, her mother and sisters, Charlotte and Matilda were working as straw plaiters. They would have worked long hours for their wages and it was quite common to see someone of this occupation plait as they walked, as well as plaiting together at home. The chalky soil of the Chiltern Hills would produce the tall thin straw which was particularly suitable for plaiting. The straw would go through various stages before even reaching the hands of a plaiter – from the farmer, the dealer, drawer, stripper, sorter, bleacher and so on, all preparing the straw for plaiting and eventual distribution to one of the centres to be made into hats or bonnets. Most likely, the straw Jane and her family plaited would have been sent to a centre in Luton, Dunstable or St Albans.
In 1877, Jane married bricklayer, John Greaves Nash, son of Sarah Nash and by 1881, the couple were residing in Upper Kitsbury Road with their children, Edward John Greaves (1878-) and Matilda Elizabeth (1880-1953). Also in the household was Jane’s father, now a widower after her mother’s death in 1878.
Over the next decade, Jane and John welcomed four more children who would complete the family – Lewis William (1882-1930), Henry George (1884-1958), Albert (1885-) and Helena Charlotte (1887-1959). The family were all together residing in Ravens Lane at the time of the 1891 Census, by which time, son Edward was an errand boy and the rest of the children were attending school.
The family remained in Ravens Lane and were residing at number 6 in 1901. Only three children were living with Jane and John at this time, Edward, who followed in his father’s footsteps in becoming a bricklayer; Albert, a brush factory hand and Helena.
By 1911, the family had moved to 10 Clarence Road. Son Lewis, now a gardener, returned to live with his parents and siblings, Edward and Helena and the family were joined by a lodger, Walter George Bushnell, a police constable from Kent.
Berkhamsted was home to Jane her entire life and she died here on 23 December 1915.