Trade and Commerce
Since the 17th century the Enys family has been linked with trade and commerce. In 1642, after enjoying life as a successful merchant in Spain, Samuel Enys returned to Penryn for the first time in 11years to bail out his father and brother. Later on repatriation, Samuel purchased some of the Enys properties and in 1647 built for himself a new home at Somercourt in Penryn.
Samuel’s sons, John and Valentine became merchants in their own right with John retiring early after a successful marriage in 1679 to the daughter of a wealthy Truro businessman. Under the terms of this marriage, Valentine received the sum of £200
(£16,610.00 today) which must have helped a 26 year old starting up in a business which thrived in the Canary Islands for 20 years.
The early 1700’s were a turbulent time in Europe with the War of Spanish Succession leading to many conflicts and shifting alliances and times of peril at sea, both in European waters and as far afield as the West Indies.
In 1702, because of the war with Spain,Valentine was forced to leave his home on Tenerife and returned to live in his Father’s house at Somercourt to continue to run his affairs, shipping wines and dyes from his erstwhile base in Tenerife and exporting goods – pilchards, cloth, timber and tin to the Mediterranean and the West Indies.
These were trying times for a maritime venture with the threat of piracy and military action on the high seas, in addition to the governments ever-shifting bureaucracy. It was left to valentine, a hardnosed businessman, to trade as well as he could, and, although a fair and straight character, necessity ruled that some transactions approached illegality with cargoes being secreted in Packet ships after a consideration to the Captain, and nefarious acquisitions of ship’s papers and bills of passage.
The business survived Valentine’s death in 1719 when his estate passed to his brother John and thence to his nephew Samuel, however, following the drains on the business by another brother, Richard, and the failure to retrieve the money tied up in the abandoned concern in Tenerife there was not mush to show after a life of hard trading.
Samuel went on to make another well placed marriage to recover some wealth to the estate and one of his grandsons, John, married the heiress, Lucy Bassett of Tehidy in 1745, with a prenuptial settlement featuring extensive areas of land and the Enys Estate diversified into property ownership and mining.