Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Colenso, John William, D.D. (1814-1883), an English clergyman, writer on mathematics, and colonial bishop. Born at St. Austell in Cornwall, he was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge. He was second wrangler, and was then elected fellow of his college. For four years he was a master at Harrow, and then for four years tutor at Cambridge, and in 1846 he was appointed rector of Forncett St. Mary. The same year saw him appointed Bishop of Natal, where he gave himself vigorously to the study of the Zulu character and language, and translated into Zulu and printed the Prayer-book and parts of the Bible. His objection to the doctrine of eternal punishment expressed in 1861, and his calling in question the accuracy and authenticity of the Mosaic books in 1862 and 1863, brought about his condemnation by the ecclesiastical authorities and his deposition from his see by his Metropolitan, Bishop Gray, of Capetown. On appeal, the Privy Council declared the deposition null and void, and the Master of the Rolls declared him entitled to his income, which had been refused him by the Colonial Bishoprics' Fund. In 1869 Bishop Gray excommunicated him, and consecrated a Bishop of Maritzburg. In 1874 Bishop Colenso visited England to consult over his position, and to plead the cause of the Zulus as against the Boers, and on his return to Africa did all that was in his power to prevent the Zulu war. He died at Durban. Besides his theological works, he wrote Ten Weeks in Natal, and his books of arithmetic and algebra are still textbooks.