Family tree of Charles TENNANT

Chemist, Industrialist, Businessman

ScottishBorn Charles TENNANT

Scottish chemist and industrialist

Born on May 3, 1768 in Laigh Corton, Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland

Died on October 1, 1838 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland

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Born at Laigh Corton, Alloway, Ayrshire to John Tennant (1725–1810) and his second wife Margaret McClure (1738–1784). The family had worked the land for generations and were friends with local poet Robert Burns (1759–1796). In Burns' epistle to "James Tennant of Glenconner" Tennant is mentioned as "wabster Charlie" (Scots language: weaver). This referring to the occupation on which Tennant had embarked, namely silk weaving, being apprenticed at the village of Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire.

Charles was the ninth of John Tennants sixteen children. As a baby, he moved from Laigh corton farm to Glenconner, Ochiltree, Ayrshire This was the humble beginning of the man who was destined to become founder and master of a mighty chemical empire and a great liberal reformer. He became one of the most progressive thinkers of his time.


He was fortunate to receive schooling both at home and at the Ochiltree parish school. He was apprenticed by his father to a master handloom weaver. This was a highly paid occupation, requiring great skill and considerable intelligence. Weavers were to be envied at the end of the eighteenth century for weaving had developed into Scotland's first industry, the counterpart of the woolen industry in England. Most farmers grew flax for their wives to spin and this, along with imported cotton, provided the material for many newly established cotton mills.

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Geographical origins

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