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Ennever & Enever family history & ancestry. Click here to return to the home page WJ Ennever (1869-1947). From the portrait by J Seymour R.A., exhibited in the Royal Academy.

The French Connection

French flag

There are a number of early and more recent references within the Ennever family history that suggests that the family has had a number of connections with France and that France is also possibly our ancestral home.  Nothing has been found that proves this possibility but many branches of the family mention it and this is what is currently known:

 

Name Details
Daniel Peter Joseph Aloysius Lynch (1827-1896)
Daniel Lynch was born before national birth registrations came into effect and we believe his christening record has been found as Daniel Petrus Lynch (the registers were in Latin) so although we are unsure of his given names he is generally recorded as Daniel or Daniel Joseph Lynch.  His baptism was in St Aloysius's Chapel in St Pancras, London which explains that in April 1868 in the London Gazette bankruptcy notice he is recorded as Daniel Peter Joseph Aloysius Lynch.  Many of the family later modified the spelling of their surname to Lensh and Daniel is also recorded as Daniel Pierre Joseph Aloysius Lensh, on his daughter Frances Ann's marriage certificate, in 1870 and also as Pierre in the 1881 census and other sources, a subtle but possibly a significant change from Peter.
William Lensh (1863-?)
William Lensh, Daniel's son, told a story about having been taken to France on a  long holiday to stay with relations. When he came back, he said he had to remember how to speak English again!

William always said that he was of French stock and apparently his children laughed at this suggestion and although this is possibly a child's imagination at work as with so many family stories there is often some basis in truth for them.
Kathleen Ennever (1904-1994)
Kathleen Ennever, who like Daniel Lynch's wife Frances Ann Ennever, was descended from Robert Ennever was taught as a child to write her name as Ennéver also believed that she was descended from French Huguenots and that her great grandfather's pianoforte manufacturing business was established in France. The Huguenot link has effectively been discounted because the earliest known references to the Ennever name in England pre-date the Huguenot persecution.  The following, taken from John Karp's biography of William Joseph Ennever, describes some of the time Kathleen Ennever spent in France:

"She was shunted around to more schools and carers, eventually coming to a governess in France. Here she learned French but soon fell ill and was subjected to the ministrations of a doctor who bled her with leeches. She wrote to her father to tell him she was so miserable and hungry that she had to sneak down to the beach and eat the raw limpets she found. W.J. Ennever did not believe her, but after he heard about the leeches he sent one of his brothers, probably Augustus, to check on her. He took one look at her and took her home with him that night."
William Joseph Ennever (1802-1885)
William Joseph Ennever is the first Ennever recorded as a pianoforte manufacturer (in 1838) and he was born in Essex c1802, married in London in 1824 and the 7 children from this first marriage were all born in London between 1824 and 1834. While it is possible that he had spent time in France it seems unlikely. His father's will makes no mention of any business assets although he did own at least two properties in the relatively affluent Bryanston Square area of West London. This wealth appears to have been acquired from his dairy business.

The family has a strong Catholic background and while we have no trace yet of 3 of his first 4 daughters after their births his 2 eldest daughters, Catherine Ann Ennever and Jane Ennever, both advertised themselves as "Catholic ladies" and their services as French tutors in 1870. Jane, known in religion as Mother Mary John Ennever, was a Faithful Companion of Jesus (FCJ) and received the religious habit in 1857 and made her religious vows in Switzerland in 1860.  Anna Maria Ennever, an elder sister, has also been confirmed as a member of the FCJ and died in Bourges, France in 1895.  The FCJ has its origins in France and it seems probable that Catherine & Jane spent time abroad as they are both missing from several UK censuses. There are no records of Anna Maria Ennever in England and it appears that she spent her life abroad in the service of the FCJ.
William Joseph Ennever (1829/30-1917)
William Joseph Ennever is the son of William Joseph above and carried on his father's business of pianoforte manufacturing. William Joseph junior married Teresa Ann Sherrott in 1865 in London.  Little was known of Teresa's family but with help from two French researchers it is now known that Teresa's mother, Saran Ann Dyke, and her sister, Amy Ellen Sherrott, moved to Jersey in the 1840s and then to France where Amy's descendants still live.

It is therefore possible that this is the family that William Lensh (see above) may have visited. Sarah Ann Sherrott, nee Dyke, is Teresa and Amy Ellen's mother, Teresa having married William Lensh's father's cousin. Here is that rather complicated relationship in graphic form.
Ennever family origin
Patricia Hill, who has been researching the Ennever family history for more than a decade, believes that the family may have originated in Normandy.  She writes "The earliest known reference and likely origin is in 1200 in Dover to a John Enfer who was of Normandy.  Traffic and trade would have been common across the channel and we have the Enyvers in Kent up to the 1500's and although I haven't found the jump to Essex it would be just a short move across the Thames."
Raymond de Enevill
Although its relevance may never be established there is also a petition to the King dated 1306 in which a Raymond de Enevill, a merchant from Toulouse is seeking payment of debts from William, son of Roger le Clerk of Boston (Lincolnshire) and Jacques de Sutton.  This document can be found at the National Archives website and is written in French.

If anyone has any information that may help to add to our knowledge of the early or later "French connections" I would be delighted to hear from you.

Author:  Barry Ennever

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