This unusual surname is a metronymic from the medieval English female given name Till, a short form of the Norman name Mathilde, Matilda, composed of the Germanic elements "maht" meaning might, strength, plus "hild" battle. The learned form Matilda was much less common than the vernacular Mahalt or Maud, and the aphetic pet form Till. The surname dates back to the late 14th Century (see below). Early recordings include Willelmus Tyllson (1379) in the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire. Variations in the spelling of the surname include Tillson, Tylson, Tilles, and Tills.London Church Records list the christening of Robert Tylson on April 27th 1545 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and the marriage of James Tilson to Jane Rebecca Hoy on June 30th 1580 at St. John the Baptist's, Shoreditch. A Coat of Arms granted to a Tilson family is gold, on a bend cotised between two blue garbs, a gold stringed mitre. The Crest is an arm embowed, silver vested and ruffled holding in the hand proper a red crosier gold head and point. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Tilleson, which was dated 1397, in the "Preston Guild Rolls", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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