An Elizabethan Gentleman 

“I, Thomas Enys the writer hereof, was borne the second daie of Marche in the yere of our lorde god 1537.”
So begins the account of Thomas Enys (1537 – 1614), a copy of which is among the Enys records. CRO EN 1898 fo. 8 p13 ff
“I was married to Katharine, the daughter of John Reskymer, esquyer, at Enys, the second daie of June in the year of our lorde god 1560 and in the second yere of the Rayne of our gracious queen Elizabeth and had vi childerin, first Aves enys/ Blenche enys/ Annes enys/ Zenobya enys/ grace enys & last John enys…” he concludes the rollcall with some wistful relief at the appearance of a son.
The children survived infancy and their christenings are listed along with an interesting line-up of godfathers and mothers.
“Avys enys was borne the xv daie of September in the yere of our lorde God 1563 at Tremayne in Sant’ Martyn parishe and was Christened at Sact’ Martyn and had to hir godfather Thomas Tretheriff esquyer & to hir godmothers Aves erysy and Elizabeth Tretheriff.
Blenche enys was borne the xith daie of September in the yere of our lorde god 1566 at enys & was Christened at Gluvyas & in the viii yere of the Rayng Elyzabeth our most gracious queen & had to hir Godfather John Skebenow gent. & to hir godmothers Mrs blenche Santaubyn and Elen Kyllgrew.
Annes [Agnes?] was borne the xxviiith daie of October in the yere of our lorde god 1570 at enys & was Christened at Gluvias and had to hir Godfather Sir John Arundell talverne knight and to hir godmothers Annes Coyswarthe & Jane Rosecrow.
Zenobya enys was borne the xxx daie of December in the yere of our lorde god 1572 at enys & was Christened at Gluvias and had to hir godfather Mychell Denys of Penryn & to hir godmothers Marie Kyllygrew & Cheston Peris.
Grace enys was borne the xiii daie of Januarie in the yere of our lorde god 1576 at enys & was Christoned at Gluvyas and had to hir godfather John Denys of Glasnye & to hir godmothers Mrs Grace Reskymer & Jeellyan Carnsew of Trewone.
John Enys was borne the xii daie of Marche  in the yere of our lorde god 1578 at enys & was Christoned at Gluvyas and had to his godfathers Thomas Sayntaubyn and his unkell John Reskymer esquyers and to his godmother my ladye Margaritt Godolphin.
Thomas records their marriages:
John Trethowen & Aves enys were marryed the [blank] daye of december 1582
John Coffen & Zenobia enys were marryed xvii daie of July 1596
Henry Tyrack was Marryed to grace enys the xv daie of October at Crowen 1603
John Enys was Marryed to Wenyfrid the daughter of Thomas Ryse of Tredeva, Gent. At Gluvyas the xix daie of Januarie 1604
Matthew Ulridge was Marryed to Annes Enys the second Daye of August at Saynct Mychell Penkevell 1604
There is no mention of Blanche being married.
The Gift of the Red Rose
In a list of land exchanges and rents due [CRO EN 1898 fo. 7/8] there is mention of a particular form of holding land.
“Also I have a deed to show how the land was given to my predecefaer in marriag at hir first marriage apon a Red Rose a yere …”
Transcript from Chancery Inquisition PM 4 Eliz. No 181 (1562) after the death of Thomas’ father, Thomas Enys of Enys, Gentleman.
“The tenements in Treluswall are held of the heir of Musseley by the rent of a red rose in socage and are worth per annum clear twenty shillings.”
Ships and Castles
Thomas also provides a mini-chronicle of the major events occupying the news of the time. Certain skirmishes with Spain were ongoing…
“The xxth daie of Julye, the spanyshe fleet came alongst before the the harbur of falmouthe & so estwarde/ & the next daie our fleet mett them and allwayes followyd them & fighttyng with them 1588.”
“The xxiiii daie of July 1595 pensans newlin & moushole was burnyd by the Spaniards that came with iiii galleys/ 1595”
“The erell of efsex my lorde admyrall & other with a fleet of shippes sailed to spayne & Tooke Cadys & the Castell & burnt moche of it 1596.”
“The Erell of Cumberland & other with a fleet of shippes sailed to Sainct John porterage & toke bothe the town & Castell 1598.”
Thomas witnessed the development of Pendennis Castle as a major part of coastal fortifications in the West. The construction was originally started in 1540 by Henry VIII when the threat from Spain over his divorce of Catherine of Aragon gave the king sleepless nights for other reasons.
The land was leased to the Crown by John Killigrew who had a house at Arwennack and became the first Captain of the Castle. The rent per annum was £13 6s 8d.
John Leland’s Itinerary Vol 3. fo. 10
“The very point of the haven mouth being an hille whereon the King hath buildid a castel is caullid Pendinant and longgith to Mr Keligrewe.”
In 1550, a rectangular entrance block was built to house the Governor.
After the raid on Penzance, the fortifications at Pendennis and St Mawes were strengthened.  Sir Walter Raleigh, who was Lord Lietenant of Cornwall, warned that the coast was exposed to invasion.  A fortuitous gale off Land’s End in 1596, blew a Spanish invasion fleet away from their possible target of Pendennis.
In 1598, a new defensive rampart was added. The reinforcing of the bastions and ramparts was completed by 1600 and came in at a bill for £2000. By 1599 there were 200 soldiers garrisoned there.
Thomas Enys:
“In the yere of our lord 1598 the forte about the Castell was begoon and Sr Nycolys Parker Captayne thereof 1598.
Queen Elizabeth I made clear her expectations of Sir Nicholas:
“By our patent we committed to you the charge of our fortifications intended to be built upon the haven of Falmouth and made you colonel of certain foot companies appointed for its guard.”
Westminster 4th Feb 1598 State Papers Dom. Ser. Vol.266 no 45
Sir Nicholas still found time to have an affair with the wife of Sir John Killigrew…
Martin Killigrew:
“The said last Sir John Killigrew…married ye daughter of an ancient and honourable family…making herself infamous and first debauched by ye Governor of Pendennis Castle.”
Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall No. XII April 1871 p.272
Apparently,  Lady Jane Killigrew had once led a gang of hearties aboard two Dutch Ships in Falmouth Harbour, seizing two barrels of Spanish coins and killing two Spanish agents. While her gang were executed at Launceston, Lady Jane was pardoned by the Queen.  There is some debate, however, as to whether an earlier incident was somehow transposed to Lady Jane’s reputation.
Lady Jane Killigrew, nee Fermor, has
frequently had the credit for an act of piracy which was
committed by Dame Mary (wife of Sir John Killigrew,
who died in 1584), on a Spanish ship in Falmouth
harbour in 1582, two generations before, and the story
of which is fully related in the Calendar of State Papers.
Susan E. Gay “Old Falmouth” London 1903
Thomas Enys mentions the earlier escapade:
The Spanyshe shipe stolen out of the harbur the vii daie of Januarie 1582
John Smythe & Simond Watson the xiii of June 1583 were hanged by the church of Gluvyas for pirasy.
The said Dame Mary Killigrew being  Zenobia Enys’ godmother, when she wasn’t leading pirate raids…
Later, the townsfolk of Penryn received Lady Jane warmly and were presented with a Silver Cup from her in gratitude for them standing by her in her time of troubles. She had been sheltered by John Bonithon of Penryn in a basement cellar in St Thomas’ St. while trying to escape from the Killgrew family pending a divorce in 1632.
Extra material on Pendennis kindly supplied by S. Pasfield Oliver, “Pendennis and St Mawes” Truro 1875.
Thomas Enys records that discipline was firm at the Castle.
“In the yere of our lord 1598, Chepmen & another with him beying ii of the souldyers belongyne to the Castell & new forte were hangyd at the high Crose for Robbyng of Richard Mason 1598”
Great names were also subject to mixed fortune. The Earl of Essex came to grief two years later.
“The earle of efsex, the earle of Rutland & the earele of Southamton & dyvers other comytted to the towre the eight daie in the nyght of februarii 1600/ 43 yere of hir Majesti Rayne and the xxv daie of the same monthe the earle of efsex was beheddyed within the towre.”
After Thomas Enys’ death, his son John continued the family records.
“My father Mr Thomas Enys died the xith daye of March and was Buried the xiith daye of the same moneth Anno 1613.”
“My dafter Katherine Enys was boren the xxviith of October and was Christened the xxviiith of the same month and had to her Godfather my Cosen John Reskimer and to her Godmothers Mrs Katheren Bonithen the younger and my Cosen Annis Hallamore Anno 1614.”
John Enys also describes the comings and goings of the monarchy.
“Prince Charles in his Coming home out of Spayne his fleet was descried before Sillye the xxviiith of September and [incorrect date of xxviith given] hee came abord of Sillye in the morning, where hee remained till the iii of October after and at his going waye hee gave lifetennant Godolfin a Chayne of gould to the value of one hundred and fifty pounds with manye other large gifts.”
Jill McGroarty



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