Sarah Penrose


 Sarah Penrose

Sarah was born on 11 June 1752 at Newbury in Berkshire.  She was the youngest child of the Rev Thomas  Penrose, the rector of Newbury, and his wife Ann (formerly Head).   Thomas came from a long-standing Cornish family, being the youngest son of Bernard Penrose of Helston.  She was baptised in Newbury Church on 10 July. 

Sarah had three older siblings:

Thomas, born in 1742 who was curate to his father at Newbury and who became known for the poetry he wrote;

Ann, born in 1743/4 who married James Pettit Andrews of Shaw House, just outside Newbury;

and Bernard, born in 1749.

Sarah’s father died when she was fifteen.

 Sarah Enys

Sarah married Samuel Enys of Enys, St Gluvias, Cornwall at Shaw Church by licence on 8 April 1771, when she was 19.  The Register entry indicates that at the time of her marriage Sarah was staying in the parish, possibly at Shaw House, and that her mother consented to her marriage, as she was a minor; the service was conducted by her brother, Thomas.  Sarah and Samuel would have met in July 1766 when Samuel’s father ‘settled him with Mr Penrose, a very worthy man’ before he went to Eton later that year.  Samuel and her brother, Thomas, were at Oxford at about the same time.

Samuel and Sarah had three children:

John born in January 1772

Lucy Anne born in June 1773 and

Caroline Sarah born in January 1775 but who died when she was only 7 months old.

The children were baptised in St Gluvias, Cornwall, so the family must have been based there even before April 1773 when Samuel’s father died and Samuel inherited his substantial estates in Cornwall (and elsewhere).  However, Samuel did not enjoy his inheritance for long as he died in January 1776. 

In his will Samuel Enys left the majority of his estate to his infant son, John, whom he also made his executor, and appointed his widow Sarah, his uncle Samuel Enys and brother and sister-in-law, James Pettit Andrews and Ann Andrews as trustees.  Sarah was given an annuity on condition she gave up all rights under her marriage settlement.  However, about a year after Samuel’s death Sarah elected to receive her dower rather than the annuity.

It appears that Sarah made her home in Donnington, near Newbury, where Samuel had a house, and transferred some furniture there from Enys.

 Sarah Thorpe

On 18 February 1779 Sarah remarried Rev John Hersent Thorpe of Embley Park near Wellow, by licence.  Once again her brother, Thomas Penrose took the service at Shaw Church.  Later the same year, Sarah’s young son, John, who was only about 8 years old, took out a complaint in Chancery against her.  It seems reasonable to suppose that his two uncles, Francis and John Enys were behind this, although their names do not appear in the papers.  The complaint relates to Sarah’s use of money from Samuel’s estates having been used for her marriage settlement with John.  The matter was not finally settled until after Sarah’s death. It seems from the records which survive that she had assumed that she was entitled to a share of all Samuel’s estates as her dower, whereas she was not entitled to anything from those estates which he had inherited from his father which were entailed to his son.  Sarah and John Hersent Thorpe appear to have set up home at Embley Park and in January 1780 had a son, William.  However, their marriage did not last for long as John died in December 1780, being buried at East Wellow on 6th December.   Just over a year later, William died and was buried with his father on 27th January 1782. Sarah’s mother had died in 1781.  Following John’s death, Sarah appears to have moved into Salisbury.

 Sarah Eyre

Sarah was married for the third time on 15 October 1783 at St Martin’s Church in Salisbury (in which parish she was living) to Rev Henry Eyre, the rector of Landford, Wiltshire.  The wedding was conducted by the rector of Weyhill, Hants, as Sarah’s brother, Thomas, had died shortly after her second marriage.  Sarah bore Henry a son, also named Henry on September 2 1784, who was baptised in Landford on 13 October that year.  Sarah died the following July, she was only 33, she was buried on 30 July 1785 in the chancel of Landford church.  Her son, Henry, later placed a monument to her memory there, which still survives. 

Sarah does not mention her son Henry in her will when she wrote it in April 1785.  She appoints as guardians for Lucy Anne, her husband, Henry, and her brother in law, James Pettit Andrews, and makes Lucy her residual legatee.  No guardians are appointed for her elder son, John Enys, so it is probable that he was already a ward of Chancery. 

 Rev Henry Eyre remarried in November 1786 Miss Frances Peniward, the second daughter of the late Roger Peniward DD of Putney, by whom he had several other children.

Jane Wood



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