Tennant Family (Scotland/England)

Figure 1.--

The Tennants are a remarkable family with a long history and origins in Scotland. Being a notable family of the day, there are many paintings and photographs of the Tennants once Charles made the family fortune.

James Tennant

The Tennants had worked the land for generations. James was a silk weaver.

Charles Tennant (1768-1838)

Charles was the son of James Weaver. Charles was educated at home and in the Parish School. He became apprenticed to a handloom weaver. Handweaving at the time was being replaced by the mechanical looms of the Industrial Revolution. Hand weaveing required considerable skill. Weavers were realtively well paid and the hand looms were not very efficient. Thus they were rapidly replaced by the new highly efficent machines operated by unskilled and less well paid workers. One of the most demanding aspects of the weaving trade was the bleaching of the cloth. This was a dangerous, lengthy process for both the person bleaching the cloth as well as the cloth itself. The traditional method was to treat the cloth with stale urine and then lay it out in bleaching fields, often for months to be exposed to sunlight. The fact that it often rained in England greatly complicated the process. Charles Tennant developed a much quicker process using a bleaching powder made of lime and chlorine. He turned his process into a family fortune. And he became a prominent Scottish chemist and industrialist. The family were friends with Robert Burns, the famed Scottish poet.

John Tennant (1796-1878)

Charles was succeeded by his son John.

Sir Charles Tennant (1823-1906)

John was succeeded by his son Charles, the 1st Baronet. Charles married twice. There were several children. The children were Edward, Margot and Eveleen. His eldest son and heir was Edward. Margot Tennant was the second wife of Prime Minister Herbert Asquith (1908-16). They had a son Anthony Asquith, a notable film director. Amongst his notable films were, 'The Winslow Boy' (1948), 'The Browning Version' (1951), 'The Importance of Being Ernest' (1952), and the 'Millionairess'. Eveleen Tennant married the writer Fredrick William Henry Myers. She became a pioneer photographer, possibly influenced as a child by meeting Julia Margaret Cameron.

Sir Edward Tennant

Sir Edward Tennant was Charles' eldest son. He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He married Pamela Wyndham (1871- ). The Tennants by this time were a rich Scottish family. The Tennants moved in high circles. The father, Edward-- Lord Glenconne, was familiar with important government ministers. Pamela was from a much more gentil (Whyndham), artistic background than the Tennants. She was members of the "Souls" a group of upper class intellectuals. Pamela Wyndham had two sisters, Mary and Adeane. Their father was a friend of John Singer Sargent, the American portratist. He painted the three sisters as ‘The Three Graces’--a clasical scene based on Grecian sculpture. But rather racy for the day, especially for identified subjects. Edward and Pamela had several children. The family consisted of five children, four boys (Edward-"Bim", Christophr, David, and Stephen) and an elder daughter. The children grew up in the Edwardian period. The charming period before the two world wars visited the horrors of the modern age on Europe. The children spent much of their time at Wilsford, the Tennant country estate with ample grounds and sunny gardens in which they could play.


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Created: 9:00 PM 2/7/2011
Last updated: 6:06 AM 8/20/2012