Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an English surname. It derives from the 8th century female personal name "Matilda" which translates as "The mighty battle maid", a striking description which no doubt accounted for much of its popularity. The immediate derivatives were Tilda, Tilla and Tulla, and after these became surnames in their own right, patronymic diminutives soon followed, denoting "son of Till or Tull". This is one of a handful of surnames surviving which were derived from the name of the first bearer's mother. This is because European society has been patriarchal throughout history, and as a result, the given name of the male head of the household has been handed on as a distinguishing name to successive generations. The name Tilla is first recorded as a personal name in 1246, in the Bedfordshire Assize Rolls, whilst church registers recordings include the christening of John Tull, at Wantage, on September 7th 1544; and Thomas Toull, a witness at St Georges in the East, Steney, on February 23rd 1738. The most famous bearer of the name in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was undoubtedly Jethro Tull (1674 - 1741), a writer of agricultural treatises and inventor of the seed drill. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Tyl. This was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 11nd of England, 1307 - 1327. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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