The “Stephen Branch” is the families descending from Thomas Colenso of Penzance, the brother of Stephen Calense of Stepney. Thomas’s wife was Phillippa Lewarne.


The eldest son John was a sailor who married Joan Corin in 1757 in Gulval. She was the daughter of Radolphus Corin and Jennifer Tresize. Their early children were christened in Gulval and the later in Penzance.


*  Stephen, christened in Gulval, 21st May 1758. He was buried in Gulval 1st March 1760.

*  Phillippa, christened in Gulval, 30th March 1760. She married Henry Ellat 12th December 1791 in Madron.

*  Johanna, christened in Gulval, 28th June 1761.

*  Jennifer, christened in Gulval, 11th August 1765, married Charles Richards 10th July 1786 in Madron.

*  Mary, christened in Gulval,18th September 1768.

*  Stephen, christened in Penzance, 4th October 1772, buried 13th November 1772.

*  John, christened in Penzance, 14th March 1773. He married Catherine Musgrove 19th May 1793 in Bodmin.

*  Ralph Corin, christened in Penzance, 29th May 1774. He married Jane Elliott 8th July 1815.

*  Stephen, christened in Penzance1st January 1780.


There may be two other sons of John and Joan – William (1776-1858) and Robert (abt 1780-1833).


There is also a William Colensoe born to Jane Lorey in 1798. This may be the William who married Jane Trudgen Nicholas in 1820. Ralph Corin Colenso was a witness at this wedding, and may have been William’s father or uncle.


Stephen, the second son of Thomas and Phillippa Lewarne appears to have settled in Maker, on the Cornish side of the Tamar near Plymouth. He married Mary and had the following children, from whom the Devon branch of the family is derived. They tended to use the name Callenso.


*  John, christened Maker 8th November 1772, probably died young.

*  Stephen, christened Maker 8th November 1772, married Jenny Hamilton in 1809, died 1849 in Plymouth.

*  Martha, christened Maker 16th March 1777, married John Houghton in 1798.

*  George, born Millbrook about 1778, married Elizabeth Chaff in 1802, died 1852 in East Stonehouse.

*  Francis, christened Maker 10th June 1779.

*  John, christened Maker 11th July 1784.


Thomas, third son of Thomas and Phillippa Lewarne, is named as the father of an illegitimate son born to Coelia Corin (nee Thomas) in 1760. She had been deserted by her husband William Corin (brother of Joan Corin), when he went off to sea. Thomas then marries Anne Note, of St Ives, in 1761, where he is described as a militia man. Anne was the widow of William Note and the daughter of John Rose. They settled in Madron/Penzance and had the following children.


*  Stephen, christened Madron 25th April 1762, married Jennifer Ann Hugo in 1780 in Probus.

*  Mary, christened Penzance 5th Jun 1762, married Jacob Moon in 1785.

*  Anne, christened Penzance 6th October 1764, married Thomas Gendall 1794. She probably had a son Francis in 1793.

*  William, christened Penzance 19th February 1769, married Mary Tonkin in 1794. He is still alive in 1841.

*  Elizabeth, christened 19th May 1771, married James Denithorne 1797.

*  Francis, christened 10th October 1773 and died before 1801 as not mentioned in father’s will.

*  Jane, christened 15th September 1776, married Joseph Maslyn in 1797.

*  Robert, born around 1778, married Elizabeth Johns Hoskin (1802) and Jane Edwards (1836)

*  John, christened 1st April 1782 married Jane Moon (1810). This couple’s children started the Bristol and Liverpool branches.


All of these children, except for Francis, are mentioned in their father’s will written in 1801. Thomas died in 1806. At this stage Thomas’s occupation is a cordwainer (fancy shoemaker).


Robert, the second youngest son of Thomas and Phillippa Lewarne married Elizabeth Williams in Madron in 1771. He was the innkeeper of the Queen’s Head in Marazion and then the King’s Head in Penzance from 1778 to 1808. Elizabeth was the daughter of John Williams and Joanna May. They had the following children.


*  Robert, christened Penzance 18th December 1772, he married Elizabeth Paynter in 1796, was a saddler and died 1806.

*  John Williams, christened Penzance 10th October 1779, named for his maternal grandfather, married Mary Ann Blackmore, died in 1860. Was father of the Bishop of Natal, a merchant and bankrupt mine owner, agent for the Duchy of Cornwall and amateur geologist. His first wife had been Mary Ann Flamank (who died in 1808), sister of his brother’s wife.

*  William, christened Penzance 17th March 1782, married Frances Flamank, died in 1865. Was a fish merchant and lay Methodist Preacher. Frances came from a prominent Methodist family in St Austell.

*  Samuel May, christened Penzance 31st May 1786, named for a maternal great grandfather, married Mary Veale Thomas, died 1866. He was a saddler in Penzance and a town councilor. Father of William Colenso of New Zealand.


Two of the four daughters of Thomas and Phillippa Lewarne married and had children – Sarah and Jonathan Kestell (1762), Anne and John Thomas (1762).


The eldest sons of John Williams Colenso and Samuel May Colenso are the two cousins described in A.L.Rowse’s book “Controversial Colensos”. In my presentation to the William Colenso (1811-1899) 200th Birthday Conference in Napier 2011 I have tried to describe his early influences in Penzance before he left for New Zealand in 1834.