Samuel Enys, 1681-1744

The son of John Enys and Anne Gregor, and heir to both the Enys and Gregor fortunes, Samuel worked closely with his merchant uncle, Valentine. Although educated at Oxford (and not as a merchant) he demonstrated good business acumen and took over management of his father’s affairs from 1707. Samuel brought more wealth into the family with his marriage to Dorothy Willys, the sister and co-heir of Sir William Willys of Cambridge. (Information from Cornwall, The Canaries and The Atlantic: the letter book of Valentine Enys, 1704-1719, ed. June Palmer (1997))

Samuel also became involved with the Tonkin family of Trevaunance manor in St Agnes; documents in the collection reveal the story (CRO references: EN/189-192, 195-196). Hugh Tonkin was unable to pay back a £5000 sum borrowed from a James Kempe, who sold the debt to Samuel Enys. Because the money could not be repaid, Samuel repossessed Tonkin’s mortgaged lands. However, Tonkin refused to vacate the lands so bailiffs were sent to evict him. The case ended up in Chancery court; Samuel Enys won and received Trevaunance manor as well as Wheal Trevaunance, one of Cornwall’s richest mines.

Further reading

Enys v Tonkin: When Values Collide (Ian & Shirley Clarke)

Dorothy Willys (Karen Tuplin)

Enys Project volunteers have transcribed many of the documents relating to the court case. Click on the links below to access these.

Documents from EN/195, Legal papers, accounts and letters, Chancery case, Enys versus Tonkin

Documents from EN/196, further legal papers in Enys vs Tonkin Chancery case

Transcripts of documents EN/197/3, EN/1489, EN/1490, EN/1672 and EN/1737 re. Tonkin and Trevaunance

EN/812-813, Samuel Enys and Dorothy Willy’s pre nuptial agreement, 1707

EN/816-817, Samuel Enys and Dorothy Willys’ marriage settlement, 1715

EN/878, EN/880, EN/952 documents relating to Dorothy Enys (nee Willys)

Background information on Thomas Tonkin and his lands



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