Tillay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

When the ancestors of the Tillay family emigrated to England following the Norman Conquest in 1066 they brought their family name with them. They lived in Dorset. Their name, however, is a reference to Tilley, Normandy, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. While many of the family went to England, some remained in Normandy. One of the oldest records of the name found there was Haymon de Tellia listed in Normandy in 960. "Robert de Tilly, and the Castle and Barony of Tilly, Normandy" [1] was listed in a roll dated 1180-95.

"This family, one of the most illustrious in Normandy took their name from the castle and barony of Tilly, near Caen, of which they were Castellans. Henry de Tilly held the castle in 1165, Ralph de Tilly held lands in Devon [2]; and his descendants continued there till the time of Richard Coeur de Lion, when they were seated at Woonford (Wonford, Devon)." [3]

Early Origins of the Tillay family

The surname Tillay was first found in Dorset where they held a family seat at Mersewood, where Henry Tilley from Tilley near Caen in Calvados acquired the confiscated estates of Geoffrey de Mandevill in 1083. The Domesday Book of 1086 lists Ralph de Tilly as holding lands in Devon in 1083. [2]

"In the beginning of the same reign Henry de Tilly, of West-Harptree-Tilly, in Somersetshire, paid £14 15s. as scutage for the King's ransom. His descendants had several other possessions in the county: the last of them mentioned by Collinson is Lionel Tilly, Lord of Salthay, 13 Henry VI. In the time of Stephen the greater part of the confiscated barony of Geoffrey de Mandeville had been granted to De Tilly. Mersewood in Dorset was its caput baroniae. But, after a suit pursued by three successive generations, Robert de Mandeville recovered it from Henry de Tilly in the beginning of King John's reign." [3]

"In South Yorkshire we find 'the family bearing the hereditary name of Tilly enjoying great interests in the dark days before the reign of Henry III.'" Hunter.

"Otho de Tilly was the Seneschal or Steward of Coningsburgh Castle under Hameline Earl Warren during the reigns of Stephen and Henry II.; and erected a cross on the market place at Doncaster, of which the remains (now removed to Hobcross Hill, a little south of the town), are still preserved." [3]

"The manor of West-Draynes [in Cornwall] formerly belonged to the family of Carew. It afterwards passed to that of Tillie, and it is now the property of J. Tillie Coryton, Esq." [4]

Early History of the Tillay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tillay research. Another 136 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1316, 1322, 1314, 1324, 1325, 1322, 1494, 1457, 1458, 1571 and 1620 are included under the topic Early Tillay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tillay Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Tillay has been recorded under many different variations, including Tilley, Tiley and others.

Early Notables of the Tillay family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Celling, or perhaps more accurately Tilly of Selling (d. 1494), who derived his name, according to Leland, from the village of Celling, or Selling, some two miles distant from Faversham in Kent: Hasted, however, assigns him to a family settled at Selling near Hythe. He appears to have been a monk of Christ Church...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tillay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Tillay family to Ireland

Some of the Tillay family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Tillay family

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Tillays were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: Robert Tilley settled in Bird Island Cove about 1853; William Tilley settled in Bona Vista Newfoundland in 1665; Thomas Tilley was married in St. John's Newfoundland in 1784.



  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print


Houseofnames.com on Facebook