The expression “cash on the nail” or “pay on the nail” derives from the 16th century. There is some debate about its origins, but I think it is linked to Jesus and slavery. The nail is a giant nail, like a table, used for trading purposes. Money was placed on the nail for a quick transaction, whereby the exchange is agreed and finalised then and there.
This trail of mine started when I was wondering about Jesus being buried in Bath Abbey. Linking that up with the standard church layout being symbolic of Jesus’ body on the cross (see February post on Jesus, da Vinci, and Chakra), I thought of his arms extending out. I then realised that the Bath “Nail” was really close to the transept of the Abbey, so you could imagine that it represented the nail going through Jesus’ right hand. This seems like yet another way of desecrating everything he stood for, by having money transactions take place on the symbolic nail through his hand, which was killing his life force. Jesus was anti money and pro humanity. The slave trade is anti humanity and pro money.
There are 4 cities with nails. All are linked. Liverpool, Bristol and Limerick are all West coast slave trade ports, and come up in Internet searches. Bath is less well known for nails, but has a single nail in the Guildhall Market. The nails are most often linked to Bristol, where there are 4 bronze nails. Note the number 4 again, it’s important. The Bristol nails each date from slightly different times, but correspond rather neatly with the slave trade for which Bristol is famous. At least 2 nails were given by “merchants” (nice word for slave traders).
Bath is not far from Bristol, just up the river, so easy to trade slaves arriving at Bristol. Beckfords Tower in Bath is still glorified today, though the Beckford family fortune is built on slavery. I would say that all four cities had merchants amassing great wealth from the slave trade. The Bath nail could have been moved to its current site, as once there was an exchange even closer to the Abbey transept. The current Bath Nail is square and made of Bath stone, with a rectangular slab of slate on top. The sign next to it claims that this is the origin of the expression “pay on the nail”.
Bath and Limerick are both strikingly similar in that they were almost completely rebuilt in the 18th century with a new Georgian design. The layout of Georgian Bath is full of Masonic symbology, with its crescents, the Sun and The Moon, and the Square and Circle, 2 obelisks (representations of swords) and 2 keys. I am less familiar with Limerick but guess it is the same. John Wood the Elder is the architect of Georgian Bath. He is also the architect of the Bristol Exchange and the Liverpool Exchange, his two main works outside of Bath. The Exchanges are where the Nails are.
I don’t know exactly what was traded using those nails. But I am guessing that if it wasn’t actual slaves, it was commodities produced abroad by slave labour. Every transaction on the nail is like driving another nail into the coffin of humanity.
The Bristol Nails are made of bronze. So I am guessing that The Crucifixion nails were also bronze. There is some debate about how many nails were used for Jesus’ crucifixion, but the recurrence of the number 4, particularly with the 4 nails in Bristol, leads me to think it was 4 nails. I am also wondering now what other connections there are with Jesus and Liverpool, Limerick and Bristol, or perhaps with his bones?