William Henry Nares - Commander RN (1789-1867)

(Capt.) William Henry Nares

Susan (Ramsay) Nares

The eldest son of John Nares.  He was born in London on 19 Jan 1789.  He joined the Navy as a cadet on the 9th June 1802 and rose to the rank of Commander by 1814.  We don't know much about his career, but he certainly saw action as is described in this extract from William James' "Naval History of Great Britain"

1813 - Boat attacks etc., in the Adriatic:

On the 17th of May, while cruising off Otranto the Cerberus discovered an enemy's vessel close to the land a little to the southward of Brindisi ; and which, upon being chased, ran herself on shore under a martello tower. Captain Garth immediately despatched three boats belonging to the Cerberus, under Lieutenant John William Montagu, and two belonging to the Apollo, under Lieutenant William Henry Nares, to attempt to bring out the vessel. This, after receiving her fire, they accomplished without any loss, and drove some of tine enemy's troops, who had come down to protect her, a considerable way up the country. The vessel was armed with a 6-pounder in the bow and a swivel. On the next morning the boats brought off a gun from a martello tower a little further to the southward.

On the 27th, observing a convoy collected in Otranto, which it was thought would push for Corfu the first north-west wind, Captain Garth, on the following morning, took a station off Faro, to endeavour to intercept them, and sent the barge and pinnace of the Cerberus and the barge and gig of the Apollo, under Lieutenants Montagu and Nares, close in shore. At about 1 A. M. the vessels came out, protected by eight gun-boats. Notwithstanding this strong force, and that they were aided by three more gun-boats from Faro, and the cliffs covered with French troops, the four British boats attacked them in the most determined and gallant manner. Lieutenant Nares, in the Apollo's barge, boarded and carried one gun-boat, and midshipman William Hutchinson, in the Apollo's gig, actually boarded and carried another before the barge of the Cerberus could get alongside. In boarding another gun-boat, Mr. Thomas Richard Suett, master's mate of the Cerberus, was shot through the heart. This, with one seaman killed, and one marine dangerously wounded, was the extent of the British loss. The gun-boats taken had each a 9-pounder in her bow and two 4-pounders abaft, and were carrying troops to Corfu. Four of the convoy were also taken.

He married Elizabeth Rebecca Gould Dodd (1796-1836), daughter of John Dodd of Redbourn, Herts, on 26 Aug 1820.  They had five sons and four daughters, William Henry (1821-1835), Martha Elizabeth Nares (1823-1836), Maria Nares (1826-1857), Suzannah Nares (1827-1836), John Strange Nares (1829-1856), George Strong Nares (1831-1915), Owen Alexander Nares (1832-1916),   William Brigstocke Nares (1834-1836), and Josepha (1836-1836).  Sadly, his wife and three children all died of scarlet fever in the first week of 1836, having lost their eldest son in October of the year before to the same disease and their youngest two years later.  They are buried in Llansantffraed Churchyard, Nr Abergavenny in Wales, and we assume that Clyther Cottage, where they lived, was near there. 


Llansantffraed Church, with the Nares grave in the foreground.
For more details, click here
 

He moved to Scotland where he took a lease on a property called Danestone, near Aberdeen, and became well known in the area.  His second wife, whom he married at St Paul's Chapel in Aberdeen on 24 Oct 1844, was Susan Innes Ramsay, born c.1802, (daughter of Alexander Innes and widow of John Ramsay of Barra and Straloch, Aberdeenshire).  


Detail from a portrait of Susan Innes Ramsay
(kindly sent by Nicholas Bogdan, who is one of her descendents)

They had two children, Henry Innes Nares and Alexander Forbes Nares.  (The 1881 census shows her living in London with her daughter Christiana Ramsay who was then a 47 year old spinster.  She died at Straloch House, in Aberdeenshire, on the 5th August 1887)