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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.


Occupations logo

Many of the Ennevers and their related families were agricultural labourers and farmers in Essex until the industrialisation that took place in Victorian times.  Many of the families then moved to East London leaving their farming roots.  You can see a list of all occupations undertaken by Ennevers and related families on the "Reports" page, while a selection of the more interesting are included below:


Occupations Summary
Actor and Actress Not unusual occupations in themselves, although they are not often found in the 18th or 19th century censuses.  There are a few examples (none apparently well known, however) in our families, including:

Ethel and William were husband and wife and both in the acting world according to the 1901 census although William had previously been a chemist's assistant and by 1911 was an insurance agent. Lily Enever's occupation has not been found in censuses but she is described as a stage hall artiste and her story can be found here.

Agricultural Labourer (Hannah Curtis and family & Mary Ann Watson)
This was undoubtedly the most common occupation of the mid-19th century before industrialisation attracted people to the towns.  Just an indication as how hard life and times could be for families, particularly when the husband died leaving his wife to provide for young children, we find Hannah Secker (nee Curtis) and two of her girls, Elizabeth (14) and Ellen (12), all working as agricultural labourers in the 1861 census.  Hannah's husband, Edward Secker who was 14 or 15 years older than she was, having died in 1860.

Similarly, Mary Ann Watson, as late as 1911 was an agricultural labourer in Spalding, Lincolnshire at the age of nearly fifty as was her daughter, Agnes Jane Fulcher aged just 14. Mary had a difficult and complicated life being the illegitimate daughter of Sarah Jane Watson. She married John Fulcher in 1882 losing him in 1891 when the couple had had seven children. Mary went on to have four more children with an unknown father or fathers after John's death.
(Mark Hogg)
Nothing is known of Mark's career at present. It is thought that he may have fought under the name Mark Lawson at featherweight.
(Fanny Laws & John Butt)
A callenderer is someone who smoothed cloth or paper by passing it through rollers.

Fanny is recorded in the 1841 census as the wife of John Midlane although the marriage registration has yet to be found and her occupation in 1841 and 1851 was Callenderer.  John's occupation in the 1851 census, aged 10, looks like Wool Callwinder or Callwender but is also probably Callenderer.
Colonial sampler
(William Buckle Todd)
A now obsolete occupation, this probably involved sampling valuable goods coming into the Port of London from the colonies, commodities such as ivory, wine, sugar, cotton and spices which had to be assessed for quality whilst in bonded warehouses.
Crow Boy
(George Overton)
His job, aged 12, would have been to scare the crows or pigeons away from seeds or young plants probably by throwing stones or swinging rattles.
Dock Labourer
(Isaac Spreadborough)

There is nothing unusual about this particular occupation which was common in the London Dockland area but Isaac is found working at the age of 81 confirming the need for people to keep working to provide for their family until they were simply unable to continue, there being no general pension provision until 1909.
(Elizabeth Liversedge, Hannah Liversedge )

Elizabeth & her twin sister were Doffers at a worsted mill when they both 13. A Doffer removes ("doffs") bobbins, pirns or spindles holding spun fiber such as cotton or wool from a spinning frame and replaces them with empty ones.
(Henry Elias Dyer)

Again, nothing unusual about this occupation except that it matches Henry's surname, Dyer. The occupation of Dyer would possibly have been the origin of the family's surname but it is unusual for it to match as late as the 19th century.
Evangelist and Missionary
(Charles John Smith)
Nothing is known of his role as Evangelist or Missionary at present except that he worked in the Hainault Forest area. His son Hubert's marriage certificate of 1916 records Charles as a "Missionary to children" while Hubert was clerk to a missionary society at the time.  Hubert certainly later worked for the Children's Special Services Mission (C.S.S.M.) which later became the Scripture Union but it is not certain that this is the society referred to at the time of his marriage.
Feather Curler
(Rebecca Collins, Emily Fowler and Alice Fowler)
Someone who curled feathers as preparation for their use in hat-making.
Frame Work Knitter (FWK)
(William Scothern and others)
A Reverend Lee of Calverton, Nottinghamshire is credited with inventing the first Knitting Frame - knitting produced by mechanical means.  A Knitting Frame is taller than an upright piano, but not as wide, the solid wooden frame incorporating a seat and foot pedals and supported the metal knitting machine. A row of fixed hooked needles hold the knitting, whilst the operator works on the new row. On 19th century machines, five or six rows of knitting with 288 stitches to the row could be achieved in one minute.  Courtesy of The Kibworth and District Chronicle.
General Labourer
(Lydia Smith & Edith Smith)
A very common 18th and 19th century occupation but in this case the workers were young girls.  The sisters, Lydia Smith and Edith Smith, were from a family of ten, their father dying when the youngest child was in her infancy leaving his widow and the elder children to support the family.  Lydia was about 18 years old when she was labouring and her sister, Edith, was about 16.
(Walter Clegg)
A Hanger-on or Hooker-on or Onsetter hung corves (originally baskets) on rope at the pit-bottom, a term later used for the men who pushed tubs of coal into the mine-shaft cage.
(Elizabeth Moody)
Women of the early 20th century and before were very rarely recorded with formal occupations, a few of the exceptions being agricultural work and assisting their husbands in his business.  Elizabeth, very unusually, was recorded in the 1901 census as a joiner while her husband was a plumber.  The couple's two children were living with an aunt and uncle so it seems feasible although having been an ironer in 1891 and a laundress in 1911 it is also possible that the census enumerator has mis-transcribed her occupation.
(Florence Ruth Alice Thorogood)
One of the most common of occupations in the 18th and 19th centuries but it is very unusual even in those times, however, to find a female labourer.  On Florence Thorogood's marriage certificate she is recorded as a "labourer" in December 1918 and her work was almost certainly part of the war effort, although the war had ended a month earlier.
Loriner (or Lorriner)
(George Enever)
An occupation not heard of now, a loriner makes and sells bits, bridles, spurs, stirrups and the minor metal items of a horse’s harness, together with the saddle tree. The word Loriner is derived from the Latin Lorum, a thong, bridle or reins, and seems to have entered the English language, from the French, as Lorimer. Source:
(Elizabeth Bowler)
There is nothing particularly unusual about the occupation of nursemaid except that Elizabeth was only 11 years old and was not nursing within her own family.  She was living with a Joseph Busby and his family while her widowed mother and her young sister were elsewhere in Limehouse.
Pianoforte manufacturer (William Joseph Ennever and family)
A short history of Ennever pianoforte manufacturing is available here.  It seems likely that Daniel Lynch (or Lensh) who is also recorded as a pianoforte maker will have worked with, or for, his wife's uncle, William Joseph Ennever.  George Vincent Ennever, son of William Joseph, proposed an association of piano tuners in 1890 to try to improve the image of the industry.
(William Harker)
An iron puddler (or often merely puddler) is an occupation in iron manufacturing. Puddling was an improved process to convert pig iron into wrought iron with the use of a reverberatory furnace.

Working as a two-man crew, a puddler and helper could produce about 3300lb (1500kg) of iron in a 12-hour shift. The strenuous labour, heat and fumes caused puddlers to have a short life expectancy, with most dying in their 30s. Source:

(Elizabeth Harris)
Rather surprisingly the 1881 census of England has 425 people recorded as prostitutes. The only family member found with this occupation was not in a census, however. Elizabeth Harris married Robert Dicker in 1848 in Bobbing, Kent in a short-lived marriage, Elizabeth deserting Robert in December of the same year. Elizabeth then illegally married John William Ennever in 1866, claiming she was a spinster as it was not until 1874 that Robert filed for divorce claiming that Elizabeth had been a prostitute after she had left him. It would appear that the revelations made in the divorce papers and a subsequent Times article in May 1875 led most of John & Elizabeth's children to change their name to Hannaway, a story told in more detail here.
Royal Navy Commander
(Colin Croft Ennever)
See the separate history of the life and career, and his participation in the sinking of the Bismarck, here.
(Mary Ann Parish)
There's nothing unusual about the occupation but it does demonstrate how our language changes in less than century.  In the 1881 census when occupations were transcribed there were 73 people recorded as "Scrubbers" ie cleaners.  The slang term to mean a prostitute or promiscuous woman apparently first appeared as late as the 1950s.
(George Newman)
George was recorded as a Police Constable in both the 1881 and 1891 censuses but in 1901 is recorded as a Taxidermist, an unusual change of career particularly as at the time of Percy, his son's, wedding in 1906 he is a Custom House Officer.
(James Butt)
Someone who worked at the toll gate to collect fees for the use of the road.  James is recorded with this occupation in the Bisley area of Gloucestershire in 1841.  It is known that there were several turnpike roads in the River Frome valleys at that time.
(Rev Basil Ranaldson Lawson)
He attended St. Bees's College and was ordained as a priest by the Bishop of Chester in 1838 (Crockford's Clerical Directory).  He was Curate to parish of Spalding 1838-1843 and served as chaplain to Spalding House of Correction. He was then Curate and vicar of Wythburn from 1849-1892.

"Thirlmere Across the Bridges to the Chapel 1849-1852" by Margaret Armstrong, pub. 1989 by Peel Wyke, is a book about his diary. It also contains family information and sketches from his sketchbook.  Source: Joene Peel
Victualler, Innkeeper, Publican or Beer House keeper etc
(John Ennever, Thomas Henry Ennever, John Ennever, Sarah Ennever and others)

John Ennever was the victualler of the Bell Inn, Rainham, Essex in 1841 and his son, Thomas Henry, is recorded as a Victualler in 1844 although both before and after that date he is a Butcher in Rainham.  According to Thomas Henry's son James Ponder's birth certificate he was living in Chadwell, Essex at the time.  It is therefore likely that he temporarily took charge of the Cross Keys, Chadwell from his cousin's 2nd wife, Jane Ennever (nee Farmer).  Thomas Henry's cousin, also a John Ennever, had been the inn-keeper here before his death in 1843.

Sarah Gad (nee Ennever) can be found as the victualler of the Five Bells Public House in Four Mills Street, Bromley near Bow in 1851 after her husband, William Gad, who was previously a victualler and publican had died.

The very appropriately named Severn Beer is also recorded as a licensed victualler in Stanton Street, Ilkeston, Derbyshire in 1891.  He took his given name from his mother, Susanna Severn.

Others found in the trade include William Hart, Frederick Ennever, Edward Todd, John Lerner, John Offord, William Such, Joseph Hopkins, George Levey and Thomas Fewster. John Offord somehow combining the demanding roles of farmer of 130 acres and innkeeper while George Levey was recorded in 1871 as a gardener, domestic servant and inn-keeper. A full list can be found using the' Occupations' report.

(John William Ennever and others)

Waterman badge
A Free Waterman's badge, worn on the arm to denote membership of the Company of Watermen.

A Waterman was someone licensed to navigate and pilot passenger vessels (known as wherries) on the River Thames while a Lighterman worked on barges (or lighters), carrying goods up and down the river and from cargo ships, that were too large to dock, to shore.  These were the taxi and lorry drivers of their day.  Navigating on the Thames was a skilled job, requiring detailed knowledge of the river's currents and tides. It was also physically demanding as wherries and lighters were propelled only by oars and by using the prevailing tides and currents.  Watermen and Lightermen were regulated by the Company of Watermen and Lightermen and underwent a five year apprenticeship after which they were "free" to ply their trade.

The Waterman's trade declined significantly as more bridges were built across the Thames and while the lightermen's trade increased dramatically with the prosperity of London and the building of the London docks it declined significantly when they closed in the 1960s.

Some useful web sites about Watermen and Lightermen include:

If you have any relevant information about family occupations I would be delighted to hear from you.

Author:  Barry Ennever

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