Richard Nash, known as Beau Nash, born in Swansea, Glamorganshire, Oct. 18, 1674, died in Bath, Feb. 3, 1761. After a preliminary education at Carmarthen school, he was entered at Jesus college, Oxford, where he displayed some ability, but was chiefly distinguished by dissipation. To preserve him from an imprudent marriage, he was at 17 years of age removed from the university, and his father purchased for him a commission in the army; but wearying of the monotony of barrack life, he entered himself a student of law in the Middle Temple. Instead of studying, however, he devoted himself to pleasure, and with resources supplied from the gaming table he became a leader of fashion and a man about town. On the occasion of an entertaiment given by the members of the Middle Temple to William III., he conducted the pageant with so much tact and address that the king offered to knight him; but Nash, sensible of his uncertain means of support, declined the honor. In 1704 he visited Bath, then just rising into importance as a watering place, and the citizens appointed him master of ceremonies. He succeeded in a short time in securing for the place the reputation of an agreeable resort for valetudinarians as well as mere seekers of pleasure.
Decency of dress and civility of manners were enforced in the public resorts, an elegant assembly room was built, streets and buildings were improved, and in process of time a handsome city was established in place of what had been only a dull provincial town. Nash himself shared in the prosperity which he had promoted, and, from his influence and the deference in which he was held by citizens as well as visitors, was styled the " king of Bath." Supporting himself still by the gaming table, he lived in great style, travelling in a coach and six with outriders, and dispensing charities with reckless profusion. Toward the close of his life his glory waned, and after the act of parliament against gambling he lived in comparative indigence. He was honored by a public funeral, and a marble statue of him was placed in the pump room of the king's bath. Nash was ungainly in person, with coarse and ugly features, and dressed in a tawdry style. A life of him by Goldsmith was published anonymously in 1762.