Tillit History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Tillit family brought their name to England in the wave of migration 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 Tillit family

The surname Tillit 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 Tillit family

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

Tillit Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Tillit were recorded, including Tilley, Tiley and others.

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

Ireland Migration of the Tillit family to Ireland

Some of the Tillit 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 Tillit migration to the United States +

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Tillit arrived in North America very early:

Tillit Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Tillit, who landed in Virginia in 1699 [5]


  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
  5. ^ 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)


Houseofnames.com on Facebook