The Tann Family of London (related to the Gravatt family)


This page is an additional aid to my GRAVATT page in order to try and clarity the relationships between the two families in our branch.  Eleanor Tann was my 3 x great grandmother and married Thomas Gravatt in 1839. I had already done some research into the Tann family but was sent a full pedegree from Richard Bardner from which I constructed the family tree: Tann Family Tree  [Thanks Richard!]



The Tann family from which our ancestors derive were a family of Safe Makers and there is a great website all about them: ‘Edward Tann & Sons – Safe Makers‘ which includes photos of five members of the family from four generation. [Thanks also to the owners of this site for allowing me to use the photos in my tree]. 


The founder of the company was Edmund Edward Tann, Iron chest maker born in 1747 who married Sarah Sturner on  21st January, 1781 at St. Lukes, Old Church, Finsbury. Their son Edward (b 1781) continued the business with his son John (born 1816) in Hope Street, Hackney under the name “Edw.Tann & Son, Reliance” and in turn with his son John born 18141.

However, another of Edward’s sons,  George Tann (b 1813) set up a Safe business in competition, in the same street under the name “George Tann, fireproof room & safemaker” with his wife Amelia. Amelia then took over after George’s death around 1849. 

Meanwhile, Edward’s middle son James Tann (b 1814) was a law stationer like his brothers-in-law Thomas Gravatt and Robert Gravatt who married his sisters Eleanor (b 1818) and Clarissa Tann (born 1819) in 1839 and 1841 respectively. James married their sister Hannah Gravatt in 1836!!  James Tann and Thomas Gravatt had completed their apprenticeships together and then set up  a business at 17 Serle’s Place, Lincolns Inn. 

In the next generation, George’s son Robert Tann (born 1843) married his cousin Ellen Ann Gravatt, daughter of the aforementioned Thomas and Eleanor in 1871. Robert took over the Safe business in about 1879 from his mother, Amelia, trading as “R.Tann, Defiance Safe & Lock Works Hackney”.  Meanwhile George’s eldest son George Warwicker Tann (born 1834) had a daughter Alexandria Elizabeth Tann (born 1864) who married her cousin once removed John Gravatt, railway clerk, whose parents were also Thomas Gravatt and Eleanor, in 1887.


Tann headstone from Hightgate cemetery

Please the Tann Family Tree for clarity!!



I am also grateful to Peter Tann, a descendant of Edward Tann b 1781, for the photo of the headstone on the right. It sees that James Tann, law stationer,  his wife Hannah Gravatt, some of their children and James’ second wife were all buried at Highgate cemetery between 1847 and 1921.


I have found an earlier Edmund Gravatt, a Leatherseller who married Jane Woodward in 1600.  He is listed as one of the inhabitants of London in 1638, paying a rent of £10 1.   They had five children baptised at St. Lawrence, Jewry, London.  They both died in 1654. See the Family Tree. I cannot connect this branch to our Edmund Edward; there are very few records on Tanns between these periods but I am sure they are related. . 


1 T C Dale, ‘Inhabitants of London in 1638: St. Lawrence, Old Jewry’, in The Inhabitants of London in 1638 (London, 1931), pp. 84-85. British History Online 


6 Responses to “Tann”

  • hya My daughter married and in my son in law’s line was Tann, I have copied the Tann tree and Mary Ann Tann daughter of Thomas married John Montague in 1842. I have a copy of the marriage certificate, and have tried to copy and paste, but it will not. So cannot send it to you. But a big thank you for the tree and all the info.

  • Dyron:

    I thought you might be interested in an R. Tann’s Charcoal iron with the stamp london fields london on it.

  • I thought you might be interested to know I have in my possession a prayer book belonging to Edward Tann’s family. It lists the date of births of his children on the inside cover. 200 years later it has ended up in California. Fun for me to know a little about the people it belonged to. Thanks.

  • Tomlincs:

    I think you’ve described the complex and confusing relationship between The Tanns and the Gravatts really well. I’m particularly interested in Robert Tann and his mother Amelia because I have an early iron safe made when either Amelia was still in charge of the company or maybe just after it had just passed into the hands of her son Robert in the 1870’s.

    Other than mine, all of the pictures of R. Tann safes, I’ve come across, bear his name on an elaborate escutcheon below figures of a Lion and Horse (poss. a unicorn) either side of a shield showing the Royal Standard. However, I think my safe is really early because the nameplate is very plain, just a brass rectangle with the words ‘Tann’s Defiance Safe, 318 Mare St Hackney’

    Have you ever come across this address – 318 Mare St – before, in your research into Robert’s family history? I looked in an 1874 edition of a Hackney Trade Directory and found an R. Tann at 318 Mare Street, but confusingly listed as a ‘Conectioner’ not a safemaker. Just wondering if he traded as a confectioner before he took over his mom’s safe-makimg company in the late 1870’s. If you could shed any light on this for me. I’d very much appreciate it

  • I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your site. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme? Exceptional work!

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