ENYS, Samuel (1611-97), of Enys, nr. Penryn, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

1660

Family and Education

b. 11 Oct. 1611, 3rd s. of John Enys of Enys by Winifred, da. and coh. of Thomas Rise of Trewardreva, Constantine. m. 5 July 1647, Elizabeth (d. 28 May 1705), da. of Samuel Pendarves of Roskrow, Gluvias, 6s. (3 d.v.p.) 1da.1

Offices Held

Capt. of militia ft. Cornw. Apr. 1660-4, commr. for assessment 1661-80, 1689-90; jt. farmer of tin coinage, duchy of Cornw. 1661-4; j.p. Cornw. 1670?-d.; alderman, Penryn 1685-Oct. 1688.2

Biography

Enys was descended from a minor gentry family that can be traced back on the property from which they took their name to the reign of Edward III. A younger son, Enys was apprenticed at the age of 16 to an English merchant at San Sebastian. With the approach of the Civil War the factory’s political sympathies were divided and Enys fought a duel ‘maintaining the King’s honour and dignity’. On a visit to England in 1642-3 he equipped a kinsman to fight in the Cavalier army, and he was briefly imprisoned in the parliamentary garrison at Plymouth. He owed his release to the intervention of John St. Aubyn and a ‘loan’ of £100. He did not return again until after the surrender of Pendennis, the last royalist stronghold in the county. Enjoying ‘the best trade of any merchant in Penryn and Falmouth’, he was able to purchase and enlarge the family estate. When Henry Seymour I visited the west country to raise contributions for the exiled Court, Enys, aided by his brother-in-law William Pendarves and Jonathan Rashleigh I, gave him a bill of exchange for £300. In 1659 he arranged for the purchase of 300 firelocks in France, which were stored at Trelawne. Richard Arundell and Jonathan Trelawny I employed him to negotiate with John Fox, the governor of Pendennis, who was less afraid of the Cavaliers than of the anabaptists under his command; but plans to infiltrate the garrison were suspended on the advance of George Monck into England.3

On the return of the secluded Members Enys was commissioned in the Cornish militia under Hugh Boscawen. He defeated Fox at Penryn, one mile from his home, at the general election of 1660, although it was claimed that his duel in 1642 was sufficient to disqualify him as a Cavalier. An inactive Member of the Convention, he was named only to the committee to examine John Thurloe and to state the debts of the army and navy. Lord Wharton marked him as a friend, but he was clearly a court supporter. In September he obtained a crown lease of two manors in Sussex, and in January 1661 he was further rewarded with the farm of the tin coinage at a rent of £2,000 p.a. At the general election he gave way to Pendarves.4

Enys and his partner were soon involved in serious dissensions with James Robyns, the say-master, who feared that the duchy interests would be endangered if the tin were not brought into the coinage halls for assay. Enys objected that these buildings had fallen into disrepair during the Civil War, and insisted that the assay and coinage should continue to be carried out in the blowing-houses, as during the Protectorate. Eventually the farm was sub-let to Sir Richard Ford, but Arundell secured compensation for the partners in the form of a pension of £500. In 1668 Enys offered Joseph Williamson £100 for a post in the local customs for his son Richard, who was appointed collector at Penryn. He was himself made a j.p. in 1670, and nominated to the corporation of Penryn under the new charter of 1685. He was not without local enemies, however, who sought to asperse his loyalty, and in July he was compelled to draw up an interesting and convincing defence of his conduct during the Civil War and Interregnum. His attitude to the Revolution is not known. He died on 8 Nov. 1697 and was buried at Gluvias, the only member of his family to sit in Parliament.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Eveline Cruickshanks

Notes

  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 152.
  • 2. Parl. Intell. 9 Apr. 1660; CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 496; 1685, pp. 73-74.
  • 3. Paroch. Hist. Cornw. ii. 86, 3