Recorded as Tilt, Tilte, Tiltman and others, this is an English medieval surname or unproven origin. Research suggests that it is or rather was occupational and a variant form of Tyle and Tyleman or Till and Tillman, all meaning a maker or fitter of tiles. However the origination was from til(man), one who ploughed the soil, and it is assumed that as tiles were made from clay dug from the ground, the meaning was changed by common usage. The probably intrusive 't' in Tilt(man) may have been caused either by local dialect or spelling errors, although this not proven. It has also been suggested although again without definitive proof, that the name could refer to a person responsible for 'the tilt'. This was a fearsome weighted sack which hung from a swing arm on the top of a pole, and was used to train mounted soldiers for combat. If the horseman missed the tilt with his lance, the weight swung around and cracked him on the back of the head! Early examples of church recordings include Joanna Tilt who married Jon Hoptes at St Mathews Friday Street, in the city of London on September 16th 1541, and Thomas Tiltman who married Mary Lowry at St Georges Mayfair, Westminster, on November 5th 1747. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Adam Tilleman. This was dated 1301, in the pipe rolls of the county of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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