TENNISON, TENNYSON This is a surname of South Holderness. Reaney and Wilson’s dictionary of surnames records a “John Tennysone” (or Tenison), fl.1371, from the Coroners’ Rolls, for Yorkshire, but no precise location.
John Tennison, Paulfleet (Paull), 1453
John Tennison, Ryehill, 1528
Thomas Tenyson buried at Holy Trinity, Hull,1571
Elizabeth Tennison and Ralph Tennison, recusants at Ottringham, 1664
Mr. William Tennison and Mrs. Mary Robinson [widow?] married at Holy Trinity, Hull, 1711
Edward Tennison, labourer, Sculcoates, 1748

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was born in Lincolnshire, but his great-grandfather was Michael Tennyson of Preston in Holderness, who married into a Lincolnshire family.
The surname was in East Anglia, spelt Tenison, in the seventeenth century. Sir Charles Tennyson and Hope Dyson (“The Tennysons”, 1974) inform us that this branch’s “… ancestors are known to have left Holderness for Cambridgeshire towards the end of the sixteenth century.”

It is generally accepted that Tennison is the same in meaning as Denison, i.e., son of Denis, a surname associated with the West Riding of Yorkshire. There are several examples in surnames of the initial D becoming T, and vice versa. The Cumbrian surname Tyson is said to be a variant of the Yorkshire Dyson.


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