Overview of Eliza Heath
Eliza Heath is mentioned in "Records of the Heath Family, 1913" as follows:
"About 1777 he [James Heath] married Eliza or Elizabeth Thomas, daughter of Rev.-Thomas, D.D., a Welsh clergyman, by whom he had one son, George Heath. Owing to his misconduct, his wife appears to have left him, when her son was about two or three years old, and returned to her own family in Wales. She subsequently "married" a Capt. Wilson, and by him had at least two daughters. No evidence of a divorce is known to exist, for which, at that period, a private Act of Parliament was required. She is believed to have died around 1835."
John Heath, in the later book "Heath Family Engravers, 1993" gives October 1778 as the month of Eliza's wedding and notes her father as being David Thomas, a stocking presser by trade.
There is a reference to a David Thomas in the book "Honourable Society of Cymmrodion by RT Jenkins and HM Ramage, 1951". This book is not indexed but the relevant information is on pages 58, 88, 126, 232, 250, 256 and 259. It is recorded that David Thomas was treasurer of the Cymmrodorian Society (A society of Welshmen living in London) and that he was a stocking presser in Ropemaker's Abbey, Moorfields. He is recorded as having been a member of the Society as early as 1753 and was still recorded as a member in 1778, when he is noted as originating from Flint in Wales. It is recorded that there was a dissolution of the Cymmrodorian Society some time after 1778, bought about by the death of David Thomas the treasurer who was insolvent and who had £140 of the Societies money in his hands at the time. It would seem very likely that this David Thomas was Eliza's father.
In the National Archives at Kew the wills of both Elizabeth Thomas's parents can be found but I have not seen these yet. I understand that the will of David Thomas mentions all his children by name and leaves all his estate to his wife, another Elizabeth. The will was made in about 1775 before the marriage of Elizabeth to James Heath. It is the second will which is interesting. This was signed in about 1785 after James and Eliza's marriage had dissolved. Apparently old Mrs Thomas had been left 500 pounds in trust by her mother, from an aunt. This she could distribute as she wanted among her children. She left it between her two daughters Jane Kirk and Elizabeth Heath wife of James Heath engraver. Jane, who was a widow, gets 60 pounds and all the rest goes to Elizabeth. The old lady emphasizes that James can have no part in it. He must not 'intermeddle' . The money is entirely for the younger Elizabeth's use and comfort. It is clear that Mrs Thomas is doing what she can for her daughter and her executors are particularly charged that James may not appropriate the money.
(Miniature Portrait of Eliza Heath)