TENNANT, Henry (by 1533-?1604), ?of Cleatop, nr. Giggleswick, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1533, ?s. of Robert Tennant of Cleatop.1

Offices Held

Sec. to Sir Thomas Cheyne by 1554-8; gov., Giggleswick g.s. by 1592-d.2


The Henry Tennent who appears on the Crown Office list as the second Member for Hastings in 1558 was clearly the nominee of the lord warden, Sir Thomas Cheyne. His dependence on Cheyne appears from two contemporary references: on 9 Sept. 1554 the common assembly of Dover resolved that ‘Mr. Henry Tenett, secretary to my lord warden’, should be given 40s. as ‘solicitor’, and in his will of 6 Dec. 1558 Cheyne bequeathed to ‘Henry Tennante my servant one yearly rent of £4 by year during his life if sickness be not the cause of his absence from me’: as Cheyne had then less than three weeks to live, Tennant presumably came into the legacy. During the lifetime of the Parliament which had ended with Queen Mary’s death in the previous month he had doubtless been in attendance on his master, either in London or in Kent helping to prepare for the expected invasion following the fall of Calais.3

Of Tennant’s origin, introduction to Cheyne and career after Cheyne’s death, nothing has been established. Styled gentleman on the list of Members, he could have come of a family settled at Giggleswick in the West Riding and have been the Henry Tennant of that town whose petition, made jointly with the King’s chaplain John Nowell and other inhabitants, led to the refounding of Giggleswick grammar school in May 1553. A connexion with Nowell and a concern for education would accord with the secretaryship to Cheyne, who was also linked with the Craven district through his cousin Elizabeth Sandys’s marriage to Thomas Lord Darcy after the death of Darcy’s first wife, the heir to Giggleswick. If Cheyne’s servant was Henry Tennant of Giggleswick he survived his master by nearly half-a-century, during which time no trace of him has been found. He was ‘weak in body by reason of old age’ when, as Henry Tennant of Cleatop, he made his will on 5 July 1604 and was dead before the last day of that month when the will was proved. He asked for burial in the chancel of Giggleswick church and for a sermon at his funeral, provided for his relatives, godchildren and servants, gave lands worth £100 to send local boys to Cambridge and left his books, apart from a great English bible, to the school. His executors were one of his nephews and the vicar of Giggleswick and his overseers two neighbours, with serjeant Richard Hutton to assist them.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: D. F. Coros


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. York wills 29A, ff. 342-5.
  • 2. Egerton 2094, f. 107; Yorks. Schools, ii Yorks, Schools, ii (York. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xxxlii), 251-4, 261.
  • 3. C193/32/2, f. 8; Egerton 2094, f. 107; PCC 1 Chaynay.
  • 4. CPR 1553, p. 68; York wills 29A, ff. 342-5.