Tawny History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Tawny is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Tawny family lived in Normandy where this "baronial name derived from the Castle of Tani. Auvrai de Tanie is on the Dives Roll : and Robert de Tany witnesses William the Conqueror's charter to Selby Abbey, Yorkshire.He held a barony in Essex, when the name was given to Stapleford-Tany, Chignall-Tany, and Latton-Tany." [1]

Early Origins of the Tawny family

The surname Tawny was first found in Essex where Hasculf, son or Robert de Tany, who in 1140 had a great suit with Rualo de Abrincis, also contested some property with William de Boville, who was the father of Rainald and Gruel. Rainald, a benefactor of Bermondsey Abbey in Surrey, left no heirs, and Gruel, or Grailand, succeeded, and certified in 1165 that he held three knight's fees de veteri feoffamento.[1]

His son also named Hasculf had a son named Gilbert, whose next heirs were William de Fauburgh, Maud the wife of Adam de Legh, and Nicolas de Beauchamp. He died in 1220, seized of seven knight's fees in the counties of Essex, Cambridge, and Suffolk, the Lordships of Aungre (Ongar) and Auvilers forming part of his barony. [1]

Later,Peter de Tani was Sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire. Of his son John we are only told that he bestowed some land on Waltham Abbey, but his grandson. Sir Richard, was Sheriff of the two counties in 1260 and 1261, Conservator of the Peace in 1263. [1]

Hasculfus de Tania was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Essex in 1195. [2]

Early History of the Tawny family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tawny research. Another 190 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1195, 1674, 1721, 1791, 1786, 1748, 1791, 1608, 1659, 1654, 1655, 1655 and 1651 are included under the topic Early Tawny History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tawny Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Tawny include Taney, Tanney, Tauny, Tauney, Tawney, Tawny, Tannie, Tani and many more.

Early Notables of the Tawny family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Theaurau John Tany (bap. Thomas Totney 1608-1659), an English preacher and religious visionary. The morning of 30 December 1654, Tany made a large fire at Lambeth into which he cast his great saddle, sword, musket, pistols, books and bible and was committed to the Gatehouse prison where he was later bailed (1655) upon habeas corpus. "His surname is spelled in nine different ways, and seems to have been pronounced 'tawny.' A...
Another 78 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tawny Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Tawny family

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Tawnys to arrive on North American shores: the name represented in many forms and recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands..


Contemporary Notables of the name Tawny (post 1700) +

  • Tawny Moyer (b. 1958), American actress who starred in film and in television


  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)


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