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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.

John Ennever or Enniver (1712/13 - 1762)

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John Ennever or Enniver was born in 1712/13 in Dunton, Essex, the eldest child of John Ennever and Mary Cooper.  Three later children did not survive to marry or have children.  He married Mary, the daughter of Robert Cornwell, of Great Coggleshall at Mercers Hall Chapel in London in 1736.  They lived at South Ockenden, Essex with John following in the family occupation of farming.   Mary produced nine children in eleven years but six of them died in infancy.

Before 1858 divorce was only possible through a private Act of Parliament. How times have changed! Of course, most people could not afford this and in fact, by 1857, only 318 had been granted in this way and only about five were to women.

John, very unusually for the time, petitioned for divorce in 1753, a very expensive process.  The Act of Parliament documents various allegations about Mary's behaviour including "unlawful ffamiliarity and Adulterous Conversation" with a servant.  By this Act (see below), which received the Royal Assent on the 15th May 1753, John was granted a divorce from Mary and was free to re-marry from this date.  His Will indicates that he married another Mary and this is thought to be Mary Osborn but this has not been proved.  It is not thought that there were any children from this marriage.

Act of Parliament 1753
The Act of Parliament 1753. "An Act to dissolve the Marriage of John Ennever Gentleman, with Mary Cornwell, his now Wife, and to enable him to marry again; and for other purposes therein mentioned."
1753 Act
A record of the Statute (see below for full text)
Table of statutes
Humbly sheweth and Complaineth to Your
most Excellent Majesty Your true and faithful
Subject John Ennever of South Ockenden in
the County of Efsex Gentleman That Your
said Subject on the fourth day of March in
the year One Thousand seven hundred and
thirty five was married at Mercers
Chappel in the City of London to Mary
Cornwel of Cotteshall in the said County
of Efsex Spinster, who lived and cohabited
with your said Subject till the Sixteenth
Day of August One Thousand seven hundred
and fifty or thereabouts before which time
She entered into an unlawful ffamiliarity
and carried on an Adultrous Conversation
with Jonathan Harvey then a Servant to
your said Subject and She hath at diverse
times carried on the life unlawful
ffamiliarity and Adulterous Conversation
with the said Jonathan Harvey and
other persons And your said Subject
since such his said Wife’s Elopement hath
never Conversed or had any Intercourse
with her That your said Subject on the
Twenty eighth Day of ffebruary last did
Obtain in the Consistory Court of the
Bishop of London a definitive Sentence of
Divorce from Bed and Board with his
Said Wife hath by her Adulterous behaviour
Difsolved the Bond of Marriage on her
Part and your said Subject now stands
Deprived of the comforts of Matrimony
And will be liable to have a  Spurious
Ifsue imposed upon him xxx the said
Marriage be declared void and Annuled
By parliament May it therefore please
your most Excellent Majesty out of your
princely Goodnefs and Compafsion to Your
said Subjects Misfortune and Calamity that
it may be Enacted And be it Enacted by
the Kings most Excellent Majesty by and
with the devise and consent of the Lords
Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in
this present parliament Afsembled and by
the Authority of the same That the said
Bond of Matrimony being violated and
broken by the Manifest and open Adultry
of the said Mary be and is from hence
-forth wholly difsolved Annulled xxxed
and may be lawful to and for the said John
Ennever at any time or times hereafter to
contract Matrimony and to Marry as
well in this Life time of the said Mary as
if she were naturally dead with any other
Woman or Women with whom he might
lawfully Marry in case the said Mary
was not living and that such Matrimony
when had and Celebrated shall be a good
just and lawful Marriage and Marriages
and so shall be adjudged Deemed and taken
to all Intents Constructions and purposes 
and that all and every Child and Children
born in such Matrimony shall be deemed
adjudged and taken to be born in Wedlock
and be legitimate and Inheritable to and
shall Inherit the Lands Tenements and
Hereditaments of the said John Ennever
and all other Lands Tenements and
Hereditaments from and by their ffathers
Mothers and other Ancestors in life
manner and form as any other Child or
Children born in lawful Matrimony shall
or may Inherit or be Inheritable unto
according to the course of Inheritance used
in this Realm or in any of his Majestys
Dominions thereunto belonging and to
have and enjoy all privileges prxxx
Benefits Advantages Claims and Demands
In as full and ample manner so any other
Child or Children born in lawful Wedlock
May have or xxx by the Laws or
Customs of this Realm or of any of his
Majestys Dominions thereunto belonging
And be it further Enacted That the said
John Ennever shall be entitled to be Tenant
By the Curtesey of the Lands and Inheri-
-tances of such Wife or Wives as he shall
so Marry {insertion} and such Wife or Wives
as he shall so Marry {end of insertion}
shall be entitled to Power of the
Lands and Tenements whereof the said
John Ennever  shall be Seized of such Estate
whereof She or they shall be Dowable as
any other Husband or Wife respectively
may or might Claim have or enjoy and the
Child or Children born in the Marriage
or Marriages shall and may derive and
make Title by xxx or otherwise to and
from any of their Ancestors so any other
Child or Children may so any Law Statute
Restraint prohibition or Custom had
made Executed or used to the contrary of
the premifses or any of them in anywise
notwithstanding And be it further
Enacted and Declared by the Authority
aforesaid that all and every Child or
Children as well Male and ffemale which
at any time since the Thirty first Day of
August One thousand seven hundred and
fifty one hath or have been born of the body
of the said Mary Wife of the said John
Ennever if any such there be are Bastards
and Spurious Ifsue and not the lawful
Ifsue of the said John Ennever on the Body
of the said Mary his Wife begotten and
that no such Child so born since the said
Thirty first Day of August One thousand
Seven hundred and fifty one nor any other
Child or Children which hereafter shall
be born of the body of the said Mary now
Wife of the said John Ennever on the
Body of the said Mary begotten And
be it further Enacted by the Authority
aforesaid that the said Mary shall be
and is hereby barred and excluded of and
from all Dower and Thirds and of and
from all right and Title of Dower and
Thirds or other Claim or Demand
In to or out of the said John Ennever
Provided That nothing in this Act
contained shall Extend or be construed
to Extend to Vacate or Destroy any
provision made for the Maintenance
Support or benefit of the said Mary.

The text of the Act.


Author:  Barry Ennever

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