Charles Tennant (1768-1838)

Charles Tennant (1768-1838)

Chemical manufacturer

Charles Tennant was born into a family that had worked on the land for generations. He left his humble origins to become involved in the manufacture of silk. He studied bleaching and in 1798 patented the use of chloride of lime in that process. Two years later he established a chemical works at St Rollox in Glasgow. This was the foundation of a business empire which, having consolidated itself as a major manufacturer of chemicals, expanded into mining, metallurgy and explosives. Charles Tennant died in Glasgow and was buried in the Glasgow Necropolis. His grandson, Sir Charles Tennant (1823-1906), who took over as head of the business, was a prominent Liberal, serving as Member of Parliament from 1877 to 1886 and building a country mansion, The Glen, in Peeblesshire.

Birth in 1768

Charles Tennant was born on 2 May 1768, the son of John Tennant and Margaret McClure. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Ayr shows he was baptised on 9 May by William Dalrymple.

Birth and baptism entry for Charles Tennant

Birth and baptism entry for Charles Tennant (24 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 578/4, page 109

Marriage in 1795

Charles Tennant married Margaret Wilson. There are two entries for the proclamation of banns ahead of their marriage. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Eastwood (his parish) gives his surname as Tennent, his occupation as bleacher and her parish as Abbey in Paisley. They were 'booked' for 17 October, one day.

Proclamation of marriage entry for Charles Tennant - Eastwood

Proclamation of marriage entry for Charles Tennant (22 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 562/3, page 159

The entry in the Old Parish Register for Abbey (her parish) states: 'Charles Tennant of Eastwood and Margaret Wilson of the parish were booked in order to marriage' on 18 October 1795.

Proclamation of marriage entry for Charles Tennant - Abbey

Proclamation of marriage entry for Charles Tennant (36 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 559/4, page 97

Testament of Charles Tennant

Charles Tennant's inventory shows his clear commitment to the development of the railway network in Scotland. No doubt he realised that an efficient transport system would be of benefit to his own business.

National Records of Scotland, inventory SC36/48/27 pp 622-624 and settlement SC36/51/16 pp 247-259

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