After over twenty years of research into the UK Hanns, I would love to be able to say that they originated in 'a' or 'b', but I can't. Over the years I have discovered a great deal of the family, but can probably explain it best by saying that it is like trying to do a massive jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces but no box. I therefore don't have a picture or even know how many pieces there are. All I can do is try and find as many pieces as I can and try and fit as many of them together as I can in the hope that at least the major part of the puzzle is revealed and I've some clue of the overall picture.
Though, as I said, I am still not certain of the origins of the Hanns, I had discovered a number of tenuous links over the years that initially led me to the pre-parish register Blackmoor Vale possibly around the Melburies/Evershot to Stourton Caundle area.
My reasons for thinking this were:
The late Geoffrey Chapman, author of 'Dalwood - A Short History of an East Devon Village' believed that the Warre family of Hestercombe in the parish of Kingston St Mary, near Taunton in Somerset, like their predecessors as Lords of the Manor of Dalwood, the Chantemarles of Frome St Quentin, Dorset were originally a Dorset family. Apparently the Warre coat of arms in the church window at Dalwood is the same as that in the church window of Melbury Bubb (at one time owned by the Arundells - see below), down to the white rose of York. [During the War of the Roses the Warres supported the Yorkists against the Lancastrians]. In 1614 Richard Warre of Hestercombe and Thomas Warre of Taunton were procuring Parliamentary votes for Sir Robert Phelips of Montacute - home of the largest contingent of Somerset Hanns - who also owned lands in Frome St Quentin at one time. There are also Hann connections with the Hestercombe area over the years. In 1748 a Richard Hann witnessed a lease in Thurloxton and in 1818 a William Hann bought property in West Monkton from the Warres.
Melbury Bubb itself is within 4-5 miles of the Blackmore Vale villages of Leigh, Yetminster, Ryme Intrinsica, Beer Hackett, Thornford, Lillington, Holnest and Hermitage - all villages with Hann connections. It is also close to Melbury Osmond (another manor owned by the Arundells) where the Thomas Hardy branch of the Hanns appeared in the 1750s. Perhaps an indication of a pre-parish register connection between the Dalwood Hanns and those of the Blackmore Vale.
The Hanns of Castleton, Dorset had links with Bishop Caundle, Longburton and Buckland Newton (all in Dorset) and married into the Simmonds family - as did Thomas Hardy’s Hann/Hand ancestors, who his daughter said came from the Blackmore Vale. The Hardy Hanns moving from Affpuddle back to the Blackmore Vale at Melbury Osmond before returning to the Piddle Valley at Puddletown.
Those of Trent, Dorset (adjoining Nether Compton and Over Compton) had links with Bridgwater, Somerset (near Hestercombe). They also had links with Combe St Nicholas in Somerset, where one of the Dalwood Hanns married, and married into the influential Somersetshire Chute family, part of which moved to Sherborne St John, Hants and held a baronetcy.
Wootton Fitzpaine at one time was held by the Earls of Ilchester - the Fox-Strangeways of Melbury House, Evershot
Benjamin Hann of Castleton was buying land from Thomas Billet of Warmwell shortly after Sarah Hann/Hand of the Hardy Hanns had married a William Billet in nearby Puddletown
At one time the manor of Boskennen in the parish of Sancreed, Cornwall, where other Hanns lived, was in Phelips’ lordship
However, I have since come to the conclusion that the biggest possible link were the Arundells of Lanherne, at St Mawgan-in-Pydar, in Cornwall.
These were a very influential family in both the county and the country who, by judicious patronage and marriages had acquired vast swathes of Cornwall and elsewhere in the West Country including land in Sancreed, where the first Cornish Hanns appeared, which they held from the mid 13th century. In 1574 a William Hanne, possibly from Sancreed, was a witness in a case involving Edward Arundell. "William Hanne, my servant, during his natural life, is granted one annuity or yearly rent of four pounds of good and lawful money of England yearly issuing out and distrainable in all my said demesnes" in the will of Sir John Arundell , in 1589. Ten years later a William Hanne was reeve in the Arundell-owned manor of Truro Vean. By 1640 a John Hann of Cardinham, son of John Hanne of St Mawgan in Pydar (gentleman), held the lands in Truro Vean. Cardinham having been a part Arundell-owned manor since 1501 when it was acquired as part of a fourway inheritance from the Dinham family. Offwell in east Devon, where the Dalwood Hanns were also present, and Corton Denham in Somerset (and within 5 miles of Trent, the Comptons, Sherborne and Milborne Port), having become part Arundell-owned by the same arrangement
By the marriage of John Arundell to Catherine Chideock (former wife of William Stafford whose short-lived son had been created Earl of Devon by Edward IV) the Arundells acquired the Chideock estates, which earlier had absorbed those of the Fitzpayne's. By this marriage, the Arundells acquired their second 'seat' at Chideock Manor in Dorset, along with the Dorset manors of Atram in the parish of Netherbury, Buckhorn Weston (near the Stours), Burton (in Charminster), Fifehead Neville, Hackeringe (in Marshwood), Hydes (in Lydlinch), Marshwood, Melbury Osmond, Moorbath (in Symondsbury), Powerstock, Stourton Caundle, Up Cerne, Whitchurch Canonicorum and Winterbourne Houghton. Most of which are areas in or near which Hanns were found at some time
Over time a minor branch of the Arundells moved to Tisbury in Wiltshire built Wardour Castle becoming Barons Arundell of Wardour, the Lanherne and Wardour branches being re-united in 1739 following the marriage of distant Arundell cousins. The Cornwall estates, by then being managed out of Chideock, Dorset, were slowly sold off - long abandoned Lanherne having been given to Carmelite nuns in 1794 became the Convent of St Joseph and St Anne when repairs were completed three years later. Chideock itself later going to the Dorset Roman Catholic Weld family, in 1802.
Being fervent Roman Catholics, like the Arundells, I've been unable as yet to trace many of the Cornish Hann(e)s christenings, marriages and burials, so have not been able to build a tree with any degree of certainty, but I am aware that a John Hanne of Cardinham married Mary Arundell of Corfe Mullen in Dorset in 1658. Their son, another John improved his standing even further by the acquisition through marriage of the lands of the Tattershalls of Exbourne in Devon. His son John then marrying Frances Arundell of a minor branch the Chideock Arundells based in Netherbury, Dorset adopting the surname Arundell Hanne and through her inheritance acquiring the Arundell's remaining Dorset estates and their new seat, Benville Manor near Corscombe.
Of their sons Henry married a Jane Saunders in Chideock in 1779, Robert married a Sarah Saunders in 1778 in Morchard Bishop, Devon and John Arundell married a Frances Saunders in Corscombe in 1777 - possible relatives of Thomas Saunders (see below). James Hanne, son of Frances Arundell Hanne, daughter of James Arundell and Frances Saunders is believed to have married Elizabeth Arundell in of the late 1820s
There had also been Hanns in the Taunton area of Somerset. Ann Han marrying Edward Harding in 1696 and Elizabeth Han marrying Thomas Saunders in 1697, both at Lydeard St Lawrence, possibly from the marriage of John Hane and Mary Crouft at Taunton in 1673. In 1713 one of the Somersetshire Chutes (John) had married Dorothea Yea, a family that originated in the Blackmore Vale, but now lived near Bridgwater. John was probably related to Elizabeth Chute who married Elias Hann of the Trent branch in 1734. In 1755 Dorothy Yea, great niece of Dorothea, married Charles Winter of Ash Priors and Bishop's Lydeard, near Taunton. Charles' brother Edmund, having moved to another Winters' 'seat' at Tintinhull (adjoining Montacute) had a daughter, Mary, who in 1788 married James Arundell Hanne of Cardinham in Tintinhull. Charles's nephew, Charles (through another brother - Robert) marrying Frances Arundell Hanne in 1807 and inheriting the Winters' estates around near Taunton. His daughter, Elizabeth. marrying the Rev George Rogers Harding (possibly a descendant of the Ann Han who married in 1696) in 1838.
One of the Cornish Hannes also became a Jesuit Roman Catholic priest, becoming Brother Superior in charge of the Worcestershire and Warwickshire district, before ending his days at Haggerston Hall in Northumberland in 1799. A possible great niece was christened at the Roman Catholic Chapel of the Secular Clergy and the Jesuits in Durham in 1770. In 1714, a Charles Hanne and Ralph Kemp (another family related to the Arundells into which the Cornish Hannes had married) witnessed the registration of the Dowager Lady Carrington under the Papists Act. Lady Carrington is also believed to have owned a coal mine in County Durham
It would therefore seem possible that the Cornwall Hann(e)s at various times before the parish records had moved from Cornwall to either serve the Arundells or to work on their estates as these advanced through east Devon and west and north Dorset, giving rise to the Hanns near the Devon border, Montacute, and those spanning the Blackmoor Vale and also had some part in the appearance of the Hanns in Northumbria. Interestingly, in the 1770/1780s Thomas Hann of Marnhull christened all six of his children in Marnhull's Our Lady Roman Catholic Church.