Tilleray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Tilleray family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. 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 Tilleray family

The surname Tilleray 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 Tilleray family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tilleray 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 Tilleray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tilleray Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Tilley, Tiley and others.

Early Notables of the Tilleray 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 Tilleray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Tilleray family to Ireland

Some of the Tilleray 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 Tilleray family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Tilleray or a variant listed above were: 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


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