Recorded as Tiln, Tilney, Tilny, Tillney, Tileney, Tylne, Tylney and possibly others, this is an English locational surname. It originates either from Tiln, a village in the county of Nottinghamshire, or from one of the exotically named places particularly in the county of Norfolk such as Tilney All Saints, which itself is only a mile from Tilney with Islington, or Tilney St Lawrence still in Norfolk, but some way off near the town of Kings Lynn. The name is believed to mean 'Tilla's island from the pre 7th century personal name Till or Tilla and '-eg', an island. Till(a) may be a short form of the popular Anglo-Saxon female name Matilda, or it may have originally described a farmer, one who 'tilled' the ground. As to when the surname was first recorded is unclear. It is widely recorded both in its original county and also far off in the city of London. Examples from surviving church registers include Agnes Tylney at Bacton, Norfolk, on June 25th 1575, Simon Tileney at the church of St Peter Mancroft, in the city of Norwich, on October 10th 1583, George Tilney who married Joan Pope at the church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on October 26th 1585, and Ann Tylne at the church of St Mary Somerset, city of London, on February 14th 1598.
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