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British Industrial History

John Samuel Enys

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John Samuel Enys (1796-1872)

1839 John Samuel Enys became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]


1873 Obituary [2]

John Samuel Enys, who was born on the 21st of September, 1796, was lineally descended from the ancient family of Enys, of Enys, where his ancestors had been located even from the time of the Plantagenets. In the first parliament of Charles II. Samuel Enys, Esq., represented Penryn, and the name of the family appears on every page of the list of county sheriffs.

Mr. J. S. Enys was educated at Winchester, matriculated at Exeter College, Oxford, and took an honorary third in classics.

He succeeded to the family estates about half a century ago, on the decease of his great-uncle, Francis Enys, Esq., and he first directed his attention to Scotch farming on the land which he retained in his own hands.

Energies such as he possessed, combined with an insatiable desire for the acquisition of knowledge, could not long be confined to farming. He became an active magistrate, and in the public business of the county his high integrity and sound opinion soon gained for him the confidence of all; he was thus enabled to bring forward and carry many useful improvements in the roads, bridges, and general communications of the county.

He next turned his attention to the improvements in the steam engines used for pumping at the Cornish mines, which had been introduced by Trevithick and others, whose merit he desired to have recognised; and upon this and kindred subjects he wrote several interesting and useful papers which have been printed in the 'Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers,' the 'Transactions of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society,' the 'Reports of the British Association,' &c. A list of the majority of them is appended to this Memoir.

Forming an acquaintance with the late Sir Henry de la Beche, then superintending the Government geological survey of Cornwall, sufficed to direct his attention to geology and mineralogy, and especially to that of his own immediate district, and in this he found great aid in the facility of pencil, which he had assiduously cultivated, originally in the study of architecture, in which he attained considerable proficiency.

Of this he found the benefit when, in after years, he visited Italy with his family, and beguiled the weariness of forced repose, which, during the first attacks of his illness, would otherwise have been very irksome to his active spirit. The interest he took in improving the form and stability of fishing-boats, and, eventually, of larger craft, must not be omitted; and he worked out by calculation, drawings, and models, some interesting problems in ship-building.

He married Miss Catherine, the eldest daughter of the late Davies Giddy Gilbert, of Eastbourne, then President of the Royal Society; and thus becoming acquainted with all the best scientific men of the day, he entered with avidity into the numerous improvements of the period, and had free scope for his energy and intelligence.

Up to within a few years of his death he was a constant attendant at the meetings of the British Association, as of the learned and scientific societies of the metropolis of his own country, and his decease, which occurred on the 29th of May, 1872, is as much regretted among the large circle of friends he had made as in his own family circle, where his uprightness, probity, high feeling, and affection for all around him were justly estimated. He was a worthy model English country gentleman.

He joined The Institution of Civil Engineers as an Associate. March the 12th, 1839, and was a very frequent attendant at the Meetings, writing Papers, and taking an active part in the Discussions.

Papers published by Mr. J. S. Enys in the Transactions of Learned and Scientific Societies, &c.:-

  • 'Some Remarks on the Granite found near Penryn, and on the Mode of Working it.' (London Phil. Mag. May, 1833, p. 32 1 .)
  • 'Tables relative to the Properties and Practical Application of Steam.' (Trans. Roy. Cornwall Poly. Soc. 1835, p. 44.)
  • 'Observations on the Application of Expansive Steam.' (Trans. Roy. Cornwall Poly. Soc. 1836, p. 70.)
  • 'On the Performance of Steam Engines in Cornwall.' (Report Brit. Assoc. 1836, p. 130.)
  • 'Observations on Duty and Horse Power.' (Trans. Boy. Cornwall Poly. Soc. 1837, p. 70.)
  • 'Observations on Expansion Diagrams and on the Duty of Scoop Wheels and Pumps in Draining Fens.' (Trans. Roy. Cornwall Poly. Soc. 1838, p. 154.)
  • 'The Application to Government for a Depository for Mining Records.' (Report Brit,. Assoc. 1839, p. xxiii.)
  • 'Remarks on the Duty of the Steam Engines employed in the Mines of Cornwall at different Periods.' (Transactions of The Institution of Civil Engineers, vol. iii., p. 449.)
  • 'Remarks on the Connection which exists between Improvements in Pit Works and the Duty of Steam Engines in Cornwall.' (Report Brit. Assoc. 1841, p. 103.)
  • 'Report of a Committee appointed at the Tenth Meeting of the Association on the Construction of a Constant Indicator for Steam Engines.' (Report Brit. Assoc. 1841, p. 307.)
  • 'Remarks on Floating Light Vessels.' (Trans. Roy. Cornwall Poly. Soc. 1842, p. 71.)
  • 'Remarks on Ships’ Fastenings and Steamboats.' (Trans. Roy. Cornwall Poly. Soc. 1842, p. 107.)
  • 'Report of the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society Premiums offered by J. S. Enys.' (Trans. Boy. Cornwall Poly. Soc. 1843.)
  • 'Plan for Floating Light Vessels and Buoys.' (Trans. Roy. Cornwall Poly. Soc. 1881, p. 35.)
  • 'On the Application of the Displacement Curves of Fish to the Construction of Boats.' (Trans. Roy. Cornwall Poly. Soc. 1854, p. 41.)
  • 'Photographs of Quarries near Penryn, showing the Structure of the Granite.' (Report Brit. Assoc. 1858, p. SO.)
  • 'Remarks on the Intensity and Quantity of the Junction Changes of Sussex and Cornwall, considered as Mining Districts.' 1863.
  • 'On Specimens of Hornblende and Serpentine from the Junction at Porthalla.' (Trans. Roy. Cornwall Poly. Soc. 1863, p. 43.)
  • 'On the Probable Course of the Tyrian or Carthaginian Ships to Cornwall.' (Trans. Roy. Cornwall Poly. Soc. 1866, p. 68.)

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1839 Institution of Civil Engineers: New Members
  2. 1873 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries