Sunday, 28 April 2013

More masonic connections.

I have been able to access more Cornish masonic records of late and I found the following entry in the 1955 Cornish Masonic Year Book.  The William Colenso here I believe must be the son of Alderman William Colenso described in the previous two chapters. One again there is a strong familiy connection between the Mount Sinai Lodge and the Colenso family. The image with red text shows William Colenso Jr's membership of the Holy Royal Arch Chapter of Holy Mount where he held the position of first principle in 1919. The final image is that of Penzance's Mark Master Mason degree where he held the position of Master in 1915.

Monday, 8 April 2013

William Colenso and the Oddfellows

In the previous article I mentioned Ald William Colenso's link to the order of Oddfellows - In the last 24 hours I have come across this fascinating profile in Oddfellows magazine.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Colenso family and Freemasonry.

Penzance Masonic Temple.
William Colenson listed as master in 1886
The Colenso family of West Cornwall has a long connection with traditions and practices of Freemasonry.  The first record of any member of the family joining the fraternity is in 1809 when Samuel May Colenso joined the Druids lodge of Redruth which at the time was meeting at the London Inn Redruth.  At the time Penzance, Sameul's home town, had no masonic Lodge, the Lodge of St John the Baptist that had met in the Star and Ship and Ship and Castle (now the Union Hotel) being extinguished in 1777.  It is likely that Samuel joined the Mount Sinai Lodge that was formed in 1813 in Penzance. In the Penzance Masonic hall in Penzance today exists a list of past masters of the Mount Sinai Lodge.  On the long list there is a reference to a William Colenso and a later a Richard Colenso being master.  The William Colenso in question was the very same William who was Mayor of Penzance in 1902 and Grandson of Samuel May.  William was well known figure in Cornish masonry and a leading figure in the odd-fellows movement, which at the time was a major provider of health care throughout Britain.  It is an curious and interesting fact that the current Penzance Masonic hall was prior to its current use, a odd-fellows hall.  Did William have a role in moving the towns masonic business to its current address?  The Richard Colenso listed can only be William's brother who was also a leading figure in the town at the time.  Interestingly at least one of Samuel May Colenso's direct descendants is a member of a Penzance masonic lodge today.
William Colenso's book of constitutions.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Railway and John Style Reed

Penzance Train Station - Now a different layout.
The Harrow Road Now
My Grandfather, John Style Reed, spent his entire working life with Railway companies of one sort or another.  Starting work in 1925 at the age of 14 for the Great Western Railway he held over the next 36 years working shunting in Penzance, on the dining cars as a kitchen porter and in the later part of his life as a guard.  Unfortunately in his 50s my grandfather had a series of heart attacks that prevented him working again (heart disease is a family curse incidentally!).  Over his working life his job took him all over the UK for a period of time including a London where he lived on the Harrow Road in the 1930's.  During the war he held a reserved occupation and took part in munition train services between the Midlands and London.  I vividly recall the stories of bombing raids on munitions trains, where my grandfather and his colleagues would have to move trains onto smaller lines to avoid their destruction.  I also recall him recounting arriving in Coventry when the bombs were falling like rain around the railway line, extraordinary courage.

For the duration of the war he was situated at Didcot which is now the home of the Great Western Society and the Didcot Railway Centre.
Helston Station the Terminus of Gwinear Road Branch Line.

In the later part of his career he would often work   on the now defunct Gwinear Road to Helston line.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Wiremu Colenso

William and the Colenso Family.
One of the most intriguing members of my family is William "Wiremu" Colenso. Wiremu was the illegitimate son of the famous Penzance born missionary, printer (an much more) William Colenso and his maori servant, Ripeke Meretene. Wiremu, moved from New Zealand and took up residence in Penzance, in an attractive house which is situated at the rear entrance of Penzance's Penlee park.   Wiremu can be seen in this photo as an older man with the rest of the immediate Colenso family.  According to family legend, Wiremu or "Willie" as he was known to his family was extremely well regarded by local people.  He married his cousin Sarah Colenso - (My great great great Aunt) sadly they had no children.  Wiremu is buried with his with in Penzance cemetery, only yards from his uncles and cousins and strangely my own family home.
William and Sarah's Grave
A gift to Richard Colenso, from Wiremu and Sarah  - Touchingly personal

William as a young man.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Charles Henry May - Pendeen, Treherbert and the May and Thomas Families.

My great grandfather was a miner from Pendeen in Cornwall called Charles Henry May.  Born in 1976 Charles was the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Ann May.  No-one is actually sure who Charles' father was, there are some rather fanciful family stories, none are confirmed.  Charles was brought up by his step father, John Charles Oats and who married his mother and became a tin miner by at least the age of 15.  From thereon in Charle's life would be dominated by mining, travelling all over the world as well the British Isles, in pursuit of a living wage.  Charles first married Margaret Ann Matthews on the 25th of November 1899, they had at least 2 children Charles Wyndham May and Florence May.  Sadly, Margaret died somewhere between 1899 and 1903 with Charles marrying my Great Grandmother, Rachel Ann Thomas from Treherbert, Wales.  By this time Charles has spent time in South Africa, Gold mining, and South Wales (Where he met Rachel) as a miner.  They had the following children;

Davey James May – 1903 – Born inTreherbert
John Henry May – 1905 – Born in Treherbert
Elizabeth Ann May – 1907 – Born in Pendeen
Owen May – 1909 – Born in Treherbert 
Rachel Ann May - 1911 born in Pendeen

Rachel Ann May is my paternal grandmother.  As you can see there was a considerable amount of mobility between the two family communities, I imagine that Charles moved between sites as tin and coal prices rose and fell.

(Pictured left Boscaswell were the May family lived in the early 1900's).

(Picture left below - Treherbert, one the Coal mines that covered the Rhondda valley and typical of one of the places that Charles Henry May would have worked)

Charles eventually died young of one of the lung diseases common to hard rock and coal miners, because he did both it is difficult to know which one.

Rachel Ann May (Nee Thomas) family were from a line of Welsh coal miners from Blackwood and Bedwellty South Wales.  Her father John William Thomas is recorded in the 1891 census as being a Coal miner from Blackwood.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Robert Colenso and the King's Head.

Robert Colenso was the father of Samuel May Colenso and Grandfather of Richard Veale Thomas Colenso. Robert seems to have been a professional publican and was the Landlord of the Queens head in Marazion (Sherborne Mercury) moving to the Kings Head Penzance in 1778.  The Kings head seems to have been sited where the current "Tremenheere" Wetherspoons is and was a focus for much of the towns civic activity.  A tradesman society of 101 traders met here regularly. Roberts name was often spelt "Calensoe". The following extract is from the London Gazette of 1786, it shows that the Kings Head was seen as a respectable establishment suitable for public meetings and in this case the meeting of a trust.