Samuel May Colenso & Mary Veale
Samuel May Colenso married Mary Veale Thomas in
Penzance on the 27th August 1808. She was the
daughter of William Thomas, a solicitor in Penzance.
Her mother was Jane Veale, connected to the Veale Family of Trevaylor, near
Samuel was described as a gentleman in the
marriage record, but elsewhere as saddler. His business must have been
reasonably successful as he served some time as a councilor for Penzance. He is also recorded as joining the Druid’s
Lodge on the 3rd
December 1809. This is the first record indicating the Colenso
family’s long association with Freemasonry.
Samuel and Mary had ten children, with nine
born 1809, dying 15 July
November 1811, dying 10th February 1899 in Napier New Zealand. He emigrated to New Zealand in
1834 as a printer for the Church Mission Society. He was an explorer,
naturalist, politician and student of maori-lore,
collecting most of the NZ flora for the Kew Gardens. He had two children by his wife Elizabeth
Fairburn, and another son Wiremu as the result of a
relationship with a maori
woman called Ripeka.
born 1813. He married Louisa Charles and had three daughters. After his wife’s
death in 1852, he and his two surviving daughters disappear. However the will
of Eleanor Thompson Brock Colenso, indicates that she married a Samuel Colenso
around 1857 in Ontario
He subsequently disappeared again, with the only clue an unclaimed letter in Australia
around 1862. Samuel was a painter and glazier.
Veale Thomas, born 13th
May 1815, dying 5
Jun 1892 in Penzance. He married
Susan Ann Edmondes, from Marazion, in 1836 and they
had 19 children. He was also a painter and probably started the Colenso &
Sons business of painters and decorators.
Williams, born 1818, dying 29th
January 1853 in Penzance. He
married Christiana Grey in 1847, but they had no children. He was a painter
until his marriage, and then became a grocer. His death was attributed to
Emily, born 1820, dying January 1896 in Penzance.
She married John Montmorency Tucker
in Paddington in 1848. In the 1881 census she is widowed and running a boarding
house in London.
In the 1891 census she is living as a lodger in Penzance.
A number of letters from her brother William to his nephew William indicate
that he was supporting her.
Frances, born 1822, dying 22nd
December 1883 in Penzance. She
married John Bramwell Sutherland Stevens, a master
mariner. They had one daughter Mary Jane (Minnie), who was buried in Penzance with her parents in 1937, no indication that she
born 1824, dying 14th
March 1907 in Penzance. She was a
dressmaker, working in London
in 1871. She was living with her cousin Robert Edward Nicholas in 1891 and
boarding in 1901, living on her own means.
Edwin, born 1827, dying 30 June 1897 in Geelong, Australia.
He immigrated to Australia
in 1848 and worked as a carpenter and then an undertaker. He married twice and
had 15 children.
Ann, born 1830. She married James Symons, a saddler from Liskeard,
in 1856 in Birmingham.
He ran a wholesale saddlery business in Walsall. They had 6 children,
including Annie Colenso Symons and Edward William Symons, who both became
teachers, with the latter becoming Headmaster of the King Edward
Samuel May and his wife were married in the established church and their
first two sons were christened in the Penzance Parish
Church, - St Mary’s.
However there are no further christenings recorded and they were both mentioned
on a memorial at the Heamoor Wesleyan Chapel. This suggests that they became Wesleyan. Samuel’s brother William was a lay preacher and actively involved in
the Wesleyan movement.
They lived at 10 Alverton Street for most of
their married life – a house that had been in the Colenso family for many
years. Mary Veale Thomas died in November 1856, with Samuel May dying in April
Their portraits were taken by their son William to New Zealand and
then returned to Penzance, via his nephew
William Colenso, son of Richard Veale Thomas. The following is an extract from
a letter, dated 5th June 1898, William wrote to his nephew concerning
the portraits. This link
will take you to a description of William’s early influences before going to
Figure 1: Mary
Veale Thomas Figure 2: Samuel May Colenso
The original portraits are now at Shotley
Manor, passed down through Susan Colenso, daughter of William’s nephew, who
married Albert Arthur Greer Martell.
The first family tree that I saw
described Samuel as “the bad old man”. Have never found any
explanation for this title.