Samuel Enys and the English Civil War (1642 – 1651)

At the outbreak of hostilities, Samuel Enys (1611-1697) was in Spain, but played his part by fighting a duel for the king’s honour.
The leading Cornish families largely had Royalist sympathies and the troops raised were commanded by Sir Richard Grenville.  The Parliamentarian forces were mostly kept at bay until 1646, when they advanced as far as Bodmin and a surrender negotiated by March 16th at Tresillian. Prince Charles sheltered at Pendennis Castle before escaping to the Isles of Scilly. Pendennis held out until August, when the garrison was forced to surrender.
Samuel returned to Cornwall in 1646.

“Good Angells making best friends…”

At the restoration of the monarchy, Samuel was keen to remind Charles II of his loyal service during the “Time of Ye Troubles”. With his friend, Christopher Bellot, he attempted to gain the ear of the king over the issue of Tin rights. Smoothing a passage to the inner court demanded time, patience and not a little greasing of palms!

CRO EN 1898 fo. 37  Jan. 5th 1661 Christopher Bellot to Samuel Enys. [this series of letters is actually dated 1660 by Christopher, but the events described took place in Jan/Feb. 1661]

I hope these may find you at your home in safety though I am sorry you lost your Company.
As first to our business, we have past ye Attorney General though with more [collateral?] than you imagined; Ye Attorney for his kindness & dispatch having had 3l in gold more which I gave by ye motion of Mr A [Husneyes] clerke who told my cosen Thomas somewhat more was expected, for […] & we supposed before could not be done. Ye engrossing cost his wife (as I take it) 9l more, 2s per sheet being almost 200 sheets. My Cosen Thomas his Bill will tell you how much for he layd out that mony & I only ye 3l.
Being dispatch’d there, I wayted on my Lady to persuade her to goe to ye Secretary to get ye King’s hand but he not being within at that tyme mett with his sonne Mr Edward who permitted it should be done. I accordingly wayted on him with ye pattents & defyred his dispatch of it before ye King went here and wayted on him according to appointment. But he at last when ye King was gone told me ye King would not fight it. I asked hym whether he made any exceptions to it, he told me noe, but refused to signe many things as well as that. I have taken ye Pattent into my hands agen, being unwilling to have it there for long untill ye King’s Returne, which some say will be a fortnight.
Well my Lord last night late came home to his house here, I was with hym as soone as he could get into ye Chambers & gave hym his accounts & indeed made it somewhat worse to hym on purpose that he might hasten, or at least in this interval of tyme, sure it. He told me I should not feare it, for he was confident he could not fayle it as soone as ye King came to Towne and that tomorrow he would to ye Secretary hymselfe. I believe had I given 10l to young Mr Edward (which I wish done since) ye business had beene effected; for our good Angells making best friends: and without that all protistations said in anger.
Well you see this will cause a fortnight’s stay longer than we expected and I believe be chargeable by owning […] stock of 35l and mony must not be wanting if we hope to have our worke done. Thus have I given you an unhappy account of ye stop of our business at will. I am not a little troubled. I showed ye Pattent this day to my Lord & we both were perusing it all the forenoone. He liked it very well but I must stay & doe nothing till the King returnes.
Your saddle I have remembered. I will buy ye King Charles More & Speakers Speeches but they cost 8d & tis too much for a letter. I suppose James Robyns will bring some with hym. I have bespoke your Trouble for the young Governours according to order & as soone as made shall present it by your directions. I suppose so 2 more will not carry on ye full worke if you think it fitt therefore to visit Mr Moore to that purpose if there be occasion, otherwise I’ll not meddle with it. I have not yet beene with hym for any of the 30l: nor will not till ye King returne, who tooke his journey Thursday morning. Ye Queene [damaged section] arriving…
Tomorrow is to be consecrated ye Bishops of Gloucester, Hereford, Bristow & Norwich: one of which is Presbiter Reynolds who I […] of according to the story with [crossed out] – throw away this part – now he has what he Fought for.

Christopher sounds quite bitter that some people are being rewarded while he still paces the corridors of power! Such is the pecking order of patronage…but meanwhile, other events intruded.


“Beds warme & Birds flown” –  Apocalyptic Angst in Restoration London

CRO EN 1898 fo. 38 Christopher Bellot to Samuel Enys Jan 8th 1661

“Honored Sir,
As to newes here was on Sunday night last an insurrection by ye Phanatiques who fell upon ye City Guards, in short slew eight of them att Billingsgate by forcing ye Guards there, another party gott Paul’s & forc’d ye guard there but at least finding ye Guards to retreat & more by ye alarum they gave, ye City repayring to their ayd ye fanatiques flew & dispersed themselves  almost invisibly  for an diligent search, they found only some beds warme & ye birds flowne, severall hats formerly worne but ye wearers of same not knowne. There were severall small Bodyes but it, Blessed be God, came to nothing more than an appar… sudden vanishing: Just some of them above few were taken & confessed that they intended ye killing of ye Lord Mayor or Ye King & ye Duke of Abermarle.
They were confident that ye Lorde King Jesus would make them conquerors, there were many intended to appeare but ye great ones shrunke. There are here still many Prisoners taking up & now at this instant Coaches passing by full of Prisoners & many Armes still found in Phanatiques howses. This was generally intended throughout the Nation by this Party & we suppose they have done the like by rising in most Countys. They began to rise about eleven on Sunday night but in ye morning all was quiet.
I have received yours from Exon & shall hasten our business as soon as ye King returns which is supposed to be much sooner than expected by reason of this insurrection here. For I suppose he knew it or would not as he did send back 100 horse, saying there will be more need of you in London then with me in […] He was at least prophetisticall. Here is great care of ye City by ye General & Lord Mayor & our feares are over because praemonitti …pre…[here Christopher has several attempts at writing this word, possibly an edict issued banning illicit gatherings?]
Yet many suppose this plot is not over.
Pray Sir, Pardon my hast communication, this to MrPendarves [William Pendarves, MP for Penryn?] and give my service to your Lady & you yet forever oblige,
Yrs Christopher Bellott.

From ye Crowne within Temple-barr.

– Christopher writes breathlessly as all this happens around him.

The “Phanatiques” were the Fifth Monarchists. This group believed that four world empires had already risen and fallen  according to the prophecies of Daniel in the Old Testament. Those empires were Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman. The Fifth Empire was yet to be ushered in by the Second Coming of King Jesus, aided by the witness of the faithful Fifth Monarchists. The year 1666 was looking good for its imminent arrival, containing the Sign of the Beast as it did –  always a favourite among conspiracy theorists. As had been the eclipse of  1652, known as “Black Monday” among the more scientifically illiterate.
In other words, the “Phanatiques”  were religious fundamentalists.
Leading  Fifth Monarchists were named as Thomas Harrison , Christopher Feake, Vavasor Powell, John Carew , John Rogers and Robert Blackborne, Secretary of the Admiralty and later of the British East India Company. Thomas Harrison and John Carew had signed Charles I’s death warrant. The Fifth Monarchists had been disappointed with Cromwell’s failure to establish a godly reign of the Saints and plotted against the Protectorate in 1657 and 1659, fulminating against Cromwell as the Beast and the Anti-Christ. The return of  Charles II must have given them apoplexy…
After the Restoration, in October 1660, Thomas Harrison was among the first to be declared guilty of regicide and first in the queue to be hung, drawn and quartered.
On 6th January 1661, 50 Fifth Monarchists, headed by a wine-cooper named Thomas
Venner attempted to take London in the name of “King Jesus.”  They marched to a bookseller near St Paul’s and demanded the keys of the cathedral, shooting a passer-by who declared loyalty to the King.
A force of General Monck’s men under Colonel Cox finally pursued them to their last stands in the Helmet Tavern on Threadneedle Street and the Blue Anchor on Coleman Street. Royalist troops broke through the clay roof tiles with musket butts and fired upon the wounded defenders, breaking in through the ceiling. Venner was captured after being wounded nineteen times. Most of the fifty were either killed or taken prisoner, and from 19th through to 21st January, Venner and ten others were hung, drawn and quartered for high treason, although Christopher first heard that Venner had died from his wounds.

He continues a few days later…

CRO EN 1898 fo. 38  Christopher Bellot to Samuel Enys Jan 12th 1661

As for newes, we are all quitt here & the Phanatiques appeared not since Tuesday, but those be plans then taken also on Monday next to be Tryed at the old [damaged section]
They confess nothing but say they shall willingly follow the Witnesses of Truth that have gone before [damaged section] them… a Wine-Cooper is dead of his wounds: I heare the Duke [damaged section] hath a list of all of them that were in this conspiracy but in the Citty is severall Countyes throughout the Nation which some of them in their hurry and confusion left behynd them at a certayne howse: this will make worke.  This morning Ludlow tis sayd was seized & follow’d over the tops of many houses but at last was lost, but the prosecutors tooke his cap & 3 Captaynes & a Trunk of his full of papers among which was one contayning acriminations & articles ag’nst ye King. I have sent you the King’s Proclamation ag’nst conventicles & unlawful meetings which Duty commanded therein you ought as the King’s Commander vigorously to performe. Amongst others pray make inquiry after Bond, who is the most dangerous phanatique neere our Parts. In the Trunke I have bespoke last weeke but is not yet ready, but shall possibly present it to ye little Gentleman.

… Those that rise were about forty rejoined Venner well armed, they were all taken & killed of the Citty about ten in number but did soe […] alarum it that had not the said Major valiantly bestirred hymselfe to ye Court they would have mightily multiplied in number & strength. Judge Rolls his wife is sent to the Tower for supplying these fellows with money to provide Arms & Ammunition. The Lord Mohun goes out of Towne about a month hence. God grant by then by me I may perfect our Worke or else I shall despayre.
Thus say […] to Mrs Enys, Mr Richard & all yours.
I am your affectionate friend & servant, Christopher Bellot.

January 12th 1661   From the Crowne within Temple-Barr.

Other sources: Pepys’ Diary.

In between all this excitement, Christopher continues to press his and Samuel’s case.

CRO EN 1898 fo. 38  Christopher Bellot to Samuel Enys Jan 12th 1661

“To my worthy friend Samuel Enys Esq. at his house in Penryn sent there. Cornwall.

His Majestye returned about eleven in ye morning on Wensday last safe & in health, having all ye while he was wanting a great Guard consisting of ye Gentry of ye Countyes. But first we heard ye Princess Henrietta is sick with they say the mussels are weak.
Ye Queene is returned to Portsmouth but ye Princess still a ship-board, tis sayd th’rl take the same killing way of letting blood that they have […] for much unhappiness done before: Lord have mercy on her, I much doubt her though they say (as they did of others) that she is on recovery.
As soon as his Majestye came home I prayed on his Secretary who promised he would carry it to him to signe & this day I was again with him in hopes of holding it effected, but nothing is yet Done only Sir Edward Nicholas told me he had conferred with ye King & Treasurer about it & that it should be speedily done. But I went to my Lord & acquainted hym with ye delay and he has promised this evening to quicken him once more, tis a slavish life to be kept on such hard duty as I am, for I am suffered not to loose an houre’s tyme: as yet have hitherto done nothing since you went home, but only delivered ye Pattent to ye Secretary: But am enjoined to see the end of it. I last night expected a letter from you, but am worried now. I had one from Capt. Rich. Vivian who sayes there would be no impediment to him & our affayres in his Parts, but the want of a stamp, when he would have me send down with all possible speed to Tavistock by ye Exon Carrier, but I thinke the Ticketts he gives should be sufficient to receive of duty before it be brought unto the Coinage-halls. I shall follow your directions herein by next post. As for Capt. Vivian, I hope we shall be able to manage our business when obtained without his partnership. As for […] after the profiting of our business we shall value at as low a rate as they doe us. And […] yoreself will look noe […] I will not give you the proposal concerning presumption to my Lord only I find some objection where I heare not of.”

In February there was another set-back with bureaucratic glitches and a rival bid being made by Sir Peter Courtney.

CRO EN 1898 fo. 39 Christopher Bellott to Samuel Enys Feb 2nd 1661

“Mr Enys,
Sir: I purposely omitted to write you by ye Last Post hoping to give you an account that our Pattent had been pass’d by this & I hastning to you with it. But having alter’d with much labour, I mean our first Warrant from the Tresurer & mended it with ye Attorney General & likewise with ye Clerke of ye Pattents, which indeed was a taske equall almost to ye whole worke though ye alteration was only in paying ye 2000l to ye Receiver General of ye Duchy, which by our first Warrant was payable to ye Chequer: This Herculian taske being done & completed by Thursday morning last, it was carried to receive ye Great Seale, but it passed not, there being 2 Caveats against ye Chancellors passing it, one from ye Receiver of ye Duchy, Mr Napper, ye other from Sir Peter Courtney.
I suppose Mr Napper’s was thinking our Pattent had not been mended as to ye payment of ye 2000l, but could not imagine what was Sir Peter’s reason, but no sooner was tooke copying of ye Caveats but I went to Sir Peter & I demanded his reasons of hindring our seale by his Caveat & he told me he ment it not ag’st me but you, but finding it was in, he would not seall it unless I would give hym a third part with us of ye whole Customs duty: I answered you as if were nought & I could not doe anything without your Consent, then he tould me he would give ye King 3000l for it.”

A thorn in Sam and Christopher’s side seemed to be one John Catcher. “whom I tooke as our sole obstructor…I perceive Catcher is an unworthy fellow for he has closely made all ye opposition he possibly could, though he promised me not to strive nor oppose.”

Various Lordships were opportuned for their patronage and good offices.  “My Lord Roberts was brought in to ye Lord Tresurer on Catcher’s behalf, where casually ye Lord Mohun was also promised we should still injoy our bargayne.”

Christopher complains wearily : “In ye meantime, I am in perpetual motion.”

An attempt was made by certain gentlemen to buy Christopher off!

CRO EN 1898 fo. 39 Christopher Bellott to Samuel Enys Feb 9th 1661

“Mr Enys,
Since I writt you, I have found ye greatest opposition that ever was made ag’st our business: on Wensday last appeared before ye Lord Tresurer, Sir Peter Courtney & a Grant with hym & being asked why, he entered a Caveat ag’st our Pattent, his answer was that he would give for it 3000l.
The Lord Tresurer replyed that he wished he had offered it 3months since but now ye bargayne was being made it was too late & soe he went off.
Then appeared Mr Napper, who was seconded by Col. Arundle, Sir John Arundle (& Mr Godolphyn who was very moderate) They presented reasons how [pertinent?] it would be to ye Presumption & gave many but of noe great weight, for my Lord Mohun answered them all. But yet so great was ye Clamour that Sir Phillip Warwick moved me to take somewhat for my Bargayne & quitt it. I told hym we had beene at great charge & had contracted with many servants & had followed this only business for 3 quarters of a year & therefore we could not leave our bargayne.
There was present before all these above mentioned, John Catcher, who I believe hath blowne ye coales & heightned it to his flame. Well for that tyme, we departed &  this day my Lord & I went thither agen where we mett Catcher & Napper, but my Lord had conferr’d with ye Tresurer below & then sent for me, where being by our issues The L’d Tresurer told me that because there was soe great a cry & that it had beene presented to ye King as a great [pertinent?] to that Presumption, he said ye King would have this clause added to ye Pattent, that if he found that it should prove a [pertinent?] to the Presumption that our bargayne should be voyd & that soe much would not be given for it, as was anciently p’d his predecessors.
But then there should be likewise added to ye Pattent that whensoever oe’r tyme did determine that soe much of ye tyme as should be unexpired, we are to receive us for our expenses 500l per annum & in ye meantyme untill there be a Presumption to hold it on ye 2000l per annum.
And also we are to have against our 500l which lyes with my Lady which it seems ye secretary acquaynted hym with. These are the best condicions we could make after such powerful opposition as above and as they say ye Earle of Ormond & ye Earle of Bath to boot. I am now going to Chancell to draw up ye clause with these condicions & on Monday my Lord will offer it to ye Tresurer & that soe we may have his Letter to ye Chancelloure to seale our Pattent.”

Samuel and Christopher were finally rewarded for their efforts in obtaining tin duties. These entries are dated for late 1660, giving no indication of the above frantic efforts in getting them signed and sealed in the months following.

Calendar of Treasury Books Vol. 1 Bk II pp 57-8

Dec. 7  1660  Treasurer Southampton’s warrant to Sir Jeffrey Palmer, Attorney General, to prepare a grant to pass the Great Seal, of the Coinage or Coinage Customs and duties of tin in Cornwall, Devon, and England and Wales, together with all duties, payments, issues, profits, &c., and all other benefits, &c. arising to the King by reason or means of the said Coinage or Coinage Custom, or duty of all tin in the places aforesaid; and also the duty usually known by the name of the Great Duty: all to Christopher Bellott and Samuel Ennys for 10 years from Xmas next, at the yearly rental of 2,000l. in as large and ample manner as the King’s Majesty &c. might have the same: to be exercised by them or their deputies, their factors or agents, &c. Their rent to be paid into the Receipt at Westminster or to the Receiver General of the county.

P 90

Dec 15th  [Warrant from Treasurer Southampton] Same to the masters and owners of blowing houses and all and every tinner and adventurer for tin in the counties of Cornwall and Devon; to pay from 1660, Dec. 24, to Christopher Bellot and Samuel Ennys the Coinage Duty of tin due to His Majesty, as heretofore paid to Sir Job Harby and other the late farmers of tin, “and that according to the Stannary Custome in the said counties you bring or cause to be brought all your tynn which from and after the 24th day of this present month shalbe blowne in the several blowing houses within the said counties unto the Stannary Towns and Coinage Halls as heretofore hath bin accustomed that it may be assayed, weighed, and coyned as heretofore hath been used and accustomed”: His Majesty having granted to the said Bellot and Ennys for certain years and at a certain rent his coinage duty of tin and great duty for post coinage in the said counties from said date.

Jill McGroarty



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