Colensos in Wales

Colensos in Wales



Richard Colenso born 1820

The first part of this account begins on the cholera page and tells how Richard Colenso and wife Martha moved from Breage in Cornwall to Swansea in South Wales. There they joined thousands of migrant workers swelling the population numbers and unwittingly adding to the conditions which helped the return of the 1848/9 cholera epidemic.

After the birth of my ggrandfather Joseph in 1852, the family moved to Llanwrst in North Wales for a couple of years, before returning to Cornwall. Their eldest daughter Elizabeth married in 1856 and remained in Cornwall while the rest of the family were on the move again back to Wales, but this time to Abergavenny in Monmouthshire.

The last record found so far of Richard Colenso is on the death certificate of his youngest son John in 1858. This page follows the events surrounding the rest of the family from 1856.



Richard Colenso
1820 -

Martha Pascoe
1819 - 1899

Elizabeth 1839 -

Rosina 1846 - 1849

John 1850 -

Mary Jane 1853 - 1853

Richard 1840 - 1927

Martha 1842 - 1887

Mary Ann 1847 -

Joseph 1852 - 1917

Sarah 1854 - 1857

Ann 1848 - 1881

John 1853 - 1855

John 1856- 1858

Rosina 1844 - 1845


For some reason, as yet unknown, Richard Colenso and wife Martha with children Elizabeth, Richard, Martha, Ann, Joseph, John and Sarah returned to Cornwall about 1855 and stayed for about a year.
Their son John died in the workhouse from a condition that had been present since birth.
Then, almost simultaneously at the end of 1856, daughter Elizabeth married John Jory and gave birth to a son John, while her mother Martha also gave birth to another son whom they also called John.


Elizabeth Colenso
was just 17 when she married John Jory on 15 December 1856 at the Chapel of Helston in the parish of Wendron. He was the third of nine children of Simon Jory (1805 - 1886) and Eliza Ralph (1811 - 1892) and was born on 7th December 1836. He became a stone mason following in his father's profession.

John and Elizabeth Jory had the following children
John Jory 1856, Edwin Jory 1858, Richard Colenso Jory 1862, William Jory 1865, Mary Jory 1870, Caty Jory 1872, Elizabeth Jory 1874, and Ellen Jory 1877.

John Jory died 28 March 1917 registered in Helston.

Richard Colenso
is assumed to have returned to Cornwall with the rest of the family. He has yet to be found on any census returns between 1861 and 1891. Initial thoughts were that he was perhaps a seafaring man, but the acquisition of his death certificate gave a different story.

He died as Richard Colenzo age 83 on 4th April 1927 at St Peters Hospital Stepney Whitechapel London. His profession was cited as shoemaker and his last known address as 963 Brick Lane.
In the 1901 Census, a Richard Colenso is found age 57 as a sick pauper in Whitechapel Infirmary Mile End Old Town London, profession shoemaker. Therefore it can be assumed that he was known in this area for at least 27 years.... but what happened in the interim years?

I discovered through further research that this area of London was very poor and run down. The area around Brick Lane historically has been an immigrant area - starting way back with the Hugenots - but largely Jewish at the time Richard was there.
Also that the Whitechapel Workhouse became Whitechapel Infirmary (infamous for its links with the 'Jack the Ripper' murders) which in turn became St Peter's Hospital

Martha Pascoe
appears to have married William Williams in Abergavenny 1859 ( date to be verified). William Williams was born in Rhymney in 1831 and was a cinder feller and later a coal miner by trade.
Why would Martha remarry as a Pascoe? Had she and Richard divorced? Had Richard died?
Further records only add to the mystery as you will see.

Martha Colenso
married George Buttery in Bedwellty Registry Office on 14th November 1863. George was the son of George Buttery who, like Richard Colenso, was an agent but in the mine works. Neither father is described as 'deceased' - is this a clue that he is still alive at the time of this wedding in 1863?

In contrast Martha Clenso later married Charles Willacombe 21st September 1881 at Wesleyan Chapel Pontrypridd. He was born in Bristol 1846 the son of farmer Thomas Willacombe and Caroline Brimble. Richard is described here clearly as 'Mineral Overman (deceased)'.

Charles and Martha Willacombe had the following children
Charles Willacombe 1869, William John Willacombe 1871 and Richard Willacombe 1873.

Ann Colenso
was just 15 when she married Joseph House on 5th July 1863 at a Wesleyan Chapel in Bedwelty even though the records say 16. The wedding was witnessed by her mother Martha and stepfather William Williams. Once again father Richard is described as agent in Ironworks but not 'deceased'. Surely this must mean he was alive in 1863....

Joseph House was born the fourth of nine children towards the end of 1837 at Emborough Somerset, the son of agricultural labourer John House (1806-1872) and his wife Ann (1812-1890). By 1861 Joseph had made the move to South Wales on his own where he met his future wife.

Joseph and Ann House had the following children
Martha Ann House 1864 - 1893, Elizabeth House 1867, William J House 1870, Henry House 1872, Ann House 1874, John House 1876, Joseph House 1878 and William House 1880.

Ann died on 7th September 1882 and Joseph died 20th February 1894.
They are both buried at Rhymney St David.

Joseph Colenso
is thought to have been born at Murton on the Gower as this was the location of the family at the time of the 1851 Census. As yet no birth record has come to light. In Census records both Swansea and Gower are recorded as place of birth.


Richard Colenso
1820 -

Martha Pascoe
1819 - 1899

Owen Davies
1821 - 1895

Elizabeth Maria Williams
1829 -

Joseph Colenso
1852 - 1917

Elizabeth Davies
1852 - 1929

Joseph Owen 1874 - 1884

Joseph Owen 1885 - 1885

Owen 1887 - 1958

Margaret 1891

George 1880 - 1963

Mary Jane 1886 - 1887

Martha1889 - 1895

Joseph 1893 - 1893

Elizabeth Ann 1883 -



After some years moving around Joseph spent his later teenage years growing up and going to school in Gelligaer. In 1861 he is in Weir Street with his mother Martha and step father William Williams. Joseph was a puddler in 1871 but by 1881 he was a coal miner and remained so for the rest of his working life. Joseph married Elizabeth Davies on 11th October 1873 at Bedwellty Parish Church.

Elizabeth was born in 1852 Pontlottyn Glamorgan the eldest of seven surviving children of Owen Davies and Elizabeth Maria Williams.

Joseph and Elizabeth had nine children but only four survived into adulthood. They spent most of their married life in the Rhondda just south of the centre of Ferndale in Union Street and Regent Street

Map showing relevant towns in South Wales


Sarah Colenso
was born in 1854 in Llanwrst North Wales.and must have been with the family when they returned to Cornwall. Sadly, Sarah Colenza's death in New Tredegar and registered in Abergavenny in 1857 is the reason we know the family had moved again.

John Colenso
was born in Helston Cornwall towards the end of 1856 during a time of great excitement. The wedding of his eldest sister Elizabeth and birth of his nephew John Jory happened at much the same time. John's short life ended in New Tredegar in 1858 and his death certificate provides the last currently known piece of information regarding his father Richard Colenso.




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