Tilley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Tilley is one of the many new names that came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Tilley family 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.

Early Origins of the Tilley family

The surname Tilley 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]

"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." [3]

Early History of the Tilley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tilley research. Another 48 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1494, 1457, 1458, 1571 and 1620 are included under the topic Early Tilley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tilley Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Tilley, Tiley and others.

Early Notables of the Tilley family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Celling, or perhaps more accurately Tilly of Selling (d. 1494), 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 Tilley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Tilley family to Ireland

Some of the Tilley 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.


United States Tilley migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Tilley name or one of its variants:

Tilley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Tilley and his wife Anne arrived aboard the "Mayflower" in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620
  • John and Joan Tilley with their daughter Elizabeth arrived on the "Mayflower" in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 from Bedfordshire
  • Ann Tilley, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 [4]
  • Edward Tilley, who arrived aboard the "Mayflower" in Plymouth in 1620 [4]
  • Anne Tilley, who landed in Maryland in 1679 [4]
Tilley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Tilley, who arrived in Boston in 1716 with eight servants
Tilley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Tilley, who landed in New York in 1835 [4]
  • Benjamin Tilley, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1849 [4]

Canada Tilley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Tilley Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • William Tilley, who settled in Bona Vista, Newfoundland in 1665 [5]
Tilley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Tilley was married in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1784 [5]
  • Mr. James Tilley U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [6]
  • Mr. Samuel Tilley U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [6]
  • Mr. Samuel Tilley U.E. born in Brooklyn, New York, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he became a Freeman in 1785 was a Joiner [6]
Tilley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Tilley, who arrived in Canada in 1832
  • Robert Tilley, who settled in Bird Island Cove, Newfoundland about 1853 [5]

Australia Tilley migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Tilley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Charles Tilley, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Joseph Tilley, aged 24, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Brankenmoor" [8]
  • Mary Tilley, aged 16, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Prince Regent" [9]
  • George Tilley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Anna Maria" in 1849 [10]
  • Joseph Tilley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Branken Moor" in 1849 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Tilley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Tilley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Tilley, aged 30, a farmer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Mary Ann Tilley, aged 28, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1842
  • Jonathon Tilley, aged 29, a shoemaker, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1842
  • Mary Tilley, aged 34, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1842
  • William Tilley, aged 5, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Tilley (post 1700) +

  • John Tilley, English inventor of the hydro-pneumatic blowpipe in 1813 in England which later evolved to the Tilley lamp, used by the British armed forces during World War II, which was so popular that it became the generic name for kerosene lamp in many parts of the world
  • Steven Tilley (b. 1971), American politician, former Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives
  • Colin Tilley (b. 1988), American award winning music video director who has worked with Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne and many more
  • Sandra Tilley (1945-1981), American R&B and soul singer
  • John A. Tilley, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 5 aerial victories
  • Katie Tilley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 2004 [11]
  • John Tilley, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Rensselaer County, 1841 [11]
  • Henry W. Tilley, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Georgetown, District of Columbia, 1840-61 [11]
  • H. G. Tilley, American politician, Member of North Carolina State House of Representatives from Granville County, 1887-90 [11]
  • Frank Tilley, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Indiana 5th District, 1910 [11]
  • ... (Another 22 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Royal Oak
  • R. Tilley, British Leading Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [12]


Suggested Readings for the name Tilley +

  • 2147 "The Tilley Treasure" by James B. King.

  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. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  6. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The BRANKEN MOOR 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849BrankenMoor.htm
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) "PRINCE REGENT" 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849PrinceRegent.htm
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The ANNA MARIA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849AnnaMaria.htm
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 1) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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