An early C19 park with the remains of late C17 or early C18 formal gardens.
Enys is first mentioned in a play written in 1450, in which the estate was given as a reward to the maker of the universe (Hitchins 1824). Reference is made in the early C17 to the planting of fir trees, and by the early C18 the house was accompanied by fine gardens (Camden 1709, quoted in Pett 1998). Through his marriage with Ann, only daughter of Henry Gregor of Truro, John Enys acquired significant wealth. His son, Samuel Enys, also married well, his wife Dorothy, daughter of a London merchant, Thomas Willis, bringing additional finances to the family. Samuel Enys was thus in a position to expend large sums of money in the improvement of his seat in the early C18, enlarging the house, beautifying the gardens, and developing the grounds.
In 1748 proposals for alterations to the walled gardens and pool were submitted by John King, although the engraving by William Borlase of 1758 produced for John Enys shows the walled forecourt to the south of the house, and the large walled garden and pavilions surviving to the east. These gardens are shown on an estate plan of c 1779 (Pett 1998). Gilbert, writing in 1820, praised the beauty of the gardens and made reference to the 'very delightful shrubbery', lake, 'handsome temple', and 'delicious walks'. The estate was then in the ownership of Francis Enys.
The 1839 Tithe map (CRO) shows the new house and gardens constructed for John Samuel Enys to plans produced by the London architect Henry Harrison in 1833. The scheme involved significant landscaping, including the reduction of the walled garden for use as a kitchen garden, removal of the walled forecourt, and the development of the park. Enys became known in the C19 for its many rare and tender plants, a tradition continued into the C20 by the then owner, J D Enys, who brought many trees and shrubs back from his travels, particularly in New Zealand and Patagonia; his introductions included the Chatham Island Forget-me-not (Myosotidium nobile) (ibid). In 1907 J D Enys published Trees and Shrubs and Plants growing at Enys, which listed over 1000 specimens.
The estate remained the property of the Enys family until the mid C20, and was occupied by the Royal Netherlands Navy during the Second World War. The site is today (2000) in divided private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Enys is situated c 1km west of Mylor Bridge and c 1.25km north of Penryn; the site lies c 1km south of the estate of Carclew (qv). The c 84ha site is bounded to the west by a minor road which leads north from Penryn to Perranarworthal. To the north and south the site adjoins agricultural land, while to the south-east and east the boundary is formed by a stream which flows from south-west to north-east towards Mylor Bridge. The house occupies a knoll of high ground, from which the land falls away to the south and north, with a stream, which has been dammed to form a chain of pool, flowing from west to east in a valley to the north of the house. There are significant views to the north, and across the park to the south and south-east of the house towards Pendennis promontory. A narrow plantation (outside the site here registered) extends south-west along a valley south of the park and to the north-west of Carvinack; this forms part of the vista from the south-east front of the house.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
Enys is approached from the Penryn road to the west. The entrance is marked by an early C19 single-storey stone lodge (listed grade II) which stands immediately to the north of a mid C19 gate at the south-west corner of the site. The drive leads east through the west park before entering woodland and turning north-east to reach a carriage court below the west facade of the house. A service drive which leaves the minor road forming the western boundary of the site at a point north of the principal entrance runs parallel to the west drive, passing through wooded grounds adjacent to the north boundary, to reach the mid C19 stables and farm buildings (all listed grade II), and the Italianate clock tower (listed grade II) and cottage which stand to the north-west of the house.
There is also an approach from the east, the drive leading north from a minor road which itself leads north-west from Bissom Road c 1km south-east of the house. Passing through woodland round the north side of the kitchen garden, the east drive continues across an area of lawn to a junction where one branch leads south to the east side of the house, while another branch continues west to reach the stables.
Enys (listed grade II) stands on a level terrace towards the centre of the site. The house comprises two storeys and is built from ashlar in a restrained Classical style with a hipped slate roof partly concealed behind a parapet. The ground-floor sash windows rise directly from a low stone plinth, while those on the first floor are of smaller proportions. The present house was built in 1833 to designs by the London architect Henry Harrison, who worked at several properties in Cornwall in the early C19, including Port Eliot (qv), Trewarthenick (qv), and Trewithen (qv). This house replaced and perhaps incorporated elements of an earlier house which had been extended in the early C18 by Samuel Enys. An engraving by Borlase (1758) shows this house to have been E-shaped on plan with a walled forecourt to the south and extensive walled gardens to the east.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
A grass terrace lies below the south front of the house, the central feature of which is a circular pool surrounded by a circle of wrought-iron arches planted with crimson rambler roses. The south terrace corresponds approximately to the walled forecourt shown to the south of the house in Borlase's engraving (1758); its present arrangement may pre-date the reconstruction of the house in 1833 (ibid). To the west of the house a grass slope rises to a former tennis court and shrubberies; the line of a former walk passes through shrubbery on the southern edge of the tennis court adjacent to a timber summerhouse.
From the south terrace a walk leads east towards the walled garden across a lawn planted with specimen trees and shrubs; this lawn occupies the site of the early C18 formal gardens which were removed in the early C19. A broad walk runs between the outer side of the surviving stretch of western wall of the walled garden and a rock bank, the southern end of which is developed as a rockery. The walk is terminated to the south by a summerhouse.
The gardens continue on the outer side of the southern wall of the walled garden, with paths, flower beds, a circular pool, and a walk passing beneath wrought-iron rose arches. Only the tiled floor and low wall remain from a conservatory which stood against the wall, but a boiler house on the inner wall of the kitchen garden which provided heat for the conservatory survives. This area was known in the late C19 as the Ladies' Garden and was illustrated in the Gardeners' Chronicle (1889).
The central walk of the Ladies' Garden leads down steps to the Colonel's Garden, named after Col John Enys (1757-1818). This small walled area is entered from the west and east by gateways, that to the east being more elaborate and prominent. Beyond this garden the walk divides, one branch completing a circuit round the outside of the kitchen garden, the other continuing east through woodland to join a track leading south-east to the eastern boundary of the site.
To the north of the house, the land, planted with beech and laurel, falls steeply away to a chain of three ponds, the western, or highest of which has become silted (2000). The middle and eastern ponds are joined by a small cascade. The eastern pond, the largest of the chain, has an informal outline and two small islands. A row of limes is planted along its northern bank and at its eastern end is the stone base of a summerhouse. To the south of the upper (west) pond, and crossing underground between the middle and lower (east) ponds, is a leat which formerly drove wheels and rams (extant, 2000), dated 1827, which supplied water to the house. The middle and eastern ponds originated in the C18 or earlier as formal canals.
The main area of park lies to the south of the house, falling gently away from the terrace. It is enclosed to the west and east by plantations, and adjoins agricultural land to the south. There is a small area of parkland to the north of the kitchen garden, and a further area adjoining the west drive between the west lodge and the plantation south-west of the house and west of the south park.
The kitchen garden lies c 150m east of the house and is enclosed by walls c 3m high. Two pavilions abut the eastern wall, that to the north having been extended and converted to domestic use in the C19, and that to the south being used as a fruit store. These pavilions survive from the late C17 or early C18 walled garden, and are shown in Borlase's engraving (1758). Within the garden a free-standing boiler house survives, but the adjacent vineries to which it supplied heat do not.
The present kitchen garden is the eastern remnant of a more extensive late C17 or early C18 walled area which extended from the east side of the walled south forecourt to the east wall of the kitchen garden and pavilions. The walled garden is shown in its more extensive form on a plan of c 1779; it was altered to its present form in the early C19, possibly as part of Harrison's improvements for John Samuel Enys (Pett 1998). The late C17 or early C18 kitchen garden was situated immediately to the south and parallel with the large walled garden, and is shown in Borlase's engraving (1758).
W Borlase, The Natural History of Cornwall (1758), pl 7
C S Gilbert, Historical Survey of Cornwall ii, (1820), p 789
F Hitchins and S Drew, The History of Cornwall (1824), p 293
F W L Stockdale, Excursions through ... Cornwall (1824), p 63
Gardener's Magazine, (1837), p 496
Gardeners' Chronicle, ii (1889), pp 747, 756; i (1901), p 417
Architect Hist 17, (1974), pp 5234, 5489
D E Pett, The Parks and Gardens of Cornwall (1998), pp 112-14
Estate plan, c 1779 (Cornwall Record Office)
Tithe map for St Gluvias parish, 1839 (Cornwall Record Office)
OS Old Series 1" to 1 mile, published 1809-13
W Borlase, Engraving of Enys from the south (published in Borlase 1758)
Engraving of the Ladies' Garden, Enys (published in Gardeners' Chronicle 1889)
The Enys of Enys family papers are held in the Cornwall Record Office (EN).
Description written: September 2000
Register Inspector: JML
Edited: October 2001