CORNISH-L ArchivesArchiver > CORNISH > 2001-08 > 0998648237
From: Ann Collins <>
Subject: Re: [CON] Re:Richards/Colenso
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 20:17:50 +1000
Not just a manor and Bishop, but also almost a Prime Minister and early pioneer
John William Colenso was the son of John Williams Colenso, son of a Landlord of
the King's Arms Penzance. John Williams Colenso was a coal merchant, part-owner
of the Happy Union mine (which flooded and sent him bankrupt), Agent for the
Duchy of Cornwall and Mayor of Lostwithiel.
His son John William, did not attend Harrow, but did attend Cambridge (with the
help of his mother's Blacmore relatives) and then was a teacher of mathematics
at Harrow. As a housemaster he owned a house that burnt down and put him in
debt. He wrote a number of books on mathematics that helped him clear the debt,
then became a clerygman and married a granddaughter of Thomas Bignold one of the
founders of Norwich Union.
One of his sisters Sophia Anne married Nicholas Kendall (member of the Pelynt
family). Their daughter Mary married a barrister Spencer Percival Butler. He was
a son of George Butler, a headmaster of Harrow. The Butler family have had
generations of influence with Harrow. One of the grandsons of Spencer and Mary
was Richard Austen Butler (aka Rab) , latterly Lord of Saffron Walden.
A cousin of John William Colenso was William Colenso, born Penzance 1811. He was
the first printer in NZ and helped translate the bible into maori. Ironically he
has been remembered as a mathematician in NZ because he printed a arithmetic
primer in maori. He was also a controversial missionary, but also a noted
botanist and explorer. When he died in 1899 he left money to the city of
Penzance, used for the Colenso Dole.
Details of John William Colenso and William Colenso were covered by A.L.Rowse in
a book called "Controversial Colensos".
John Coles wrote:
> Not just a Colenso Manor, but also a Bishop!
> John William Colenso, born 1814 (I think) at St Austell, and commemorated in
> the church there as a Bishop of the Zulus (in Africa) where he was obviously
> one of the earliest missionaries.
> He had been educated at Harrow (a very famous 'Public' school - which means
> a very expensive 'private' school fior the sons of the wealthy) and then
> Cambridge University (again, world famous as one of the two oldest and best
> in Britain), and went to Africa as a Bishop of Natal.
> He became heavily involved in the education of the Africans, who became his
> printers and assistants for his translation of the Bible into Zulu.
> But soon doubts sprang in his mind ... he started to question the
> scriptures, and the 'establishment' turned against him. He fought several
> famous battles against attempts to 'excommunicate' him, and then refusals to
> pay his wages... he won, but the struggle killed him, and this remarkable
> man died in 1883. But what a life he must have had!!!
> John Coles,
> in Launceston, the Historic Capital of Cornwall.
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