Enys History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cornwall, one of the original six "Celtic nations" is the homeland to the surname Enys. A revival of the Cornish language which began in the 9th century AD has begun. No doubt this was the language spoken by distant forebears of the Enys family. Though surnames became common during medieval times, English people were formerly known only by a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames were adopted in medieval England is fascinating. Many Cornish surnames appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames. The name Enys is a local type of surname and the Enys family lived in Cornwall, at the village of Ennis. The place-name is Gaelic in origin, and derives from an Anglicization of the personal name Angus.

Early Origins of the Enys family

The surname Enys was first found in Cornwall where "the manors of Pettigrew and Nampitty, [in the parish of Gerrans] were the property of Francis Enys, Esq. in whose family they have been for a considerable time." [1]

"It is generally understood that Enys, [in the parish of St. Gluvias] which is now the seat of Francis Enys, Esq. has been in this family ever since the days of Edward I. ; for so high this family can be traced. In the Cornish play, brought into Oxford in 1450, and of which the manuscript is still preserved in the Bodleian Library, Enys and some other lands are given as a reward to the builder of the universe. Its situation is about two miles from Penryn, on the right hand side of the road leading to Truro. In the Magna Britannia for 1720, notice is taken of its celebrated gardens. They still preserve their beauty, and the grounds are enlivened with the diversified prospects which they command." [1]

Early History of the Enys family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Enys research. Another 186 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1312, 1620, 1651, 1611, 1697, 1660 and are included under the topic Early Enys History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Enys Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Ennis, Ennys, Enys, Eynes and others.

Early Notables of the Enys family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Enys Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Enys family to Ireland

Some of the Enys family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 81 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Enys family

Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Enys were James Ennis made his home in Virginia in 1650. Alexander Ennis purchased land outside of Boston and with his family settled there in 1651. Timothy Ennys made the earliest crossing when he landed in Barbados in 1635. Later members of the Ennis name were to enter New York State and Massachusetts by the early 1800's..



The Enys Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Virtute et valore
Motto Translation: By virtue and valour.


  1. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print


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