This is an Anglo-Irish surname recorded in various spellings. It has two possible origins. If Irish it derives from the pre 10th century Old Gaelic names "O'Taithlagh", composed of the prefix "O", meaning male descendant of, and "taithleach", quiet or peaceful; or "O' Maol Tuile", including "maol", meaning follower of, and "Tuile", representing St. Tuile, and hence the translation of "the follower of St. Tuile". The surnames Flood, Tully, Tulley and MacAtilla all derive their origin from this source.The Tull(e)y sept were hereditary physicians to the chiefs of the O'Connor and O'Reilly clans, and legend has it that one Teag MacTully was present at the inauguration of Cathal O'Connor, the last King of Connacht in 1170. Tullystown near Granard is associated with the Breffny branch of the family. The second possible origin which certainly applies in England, is Norse-Viking, from the pre 7th century personal name "Toli". This spelling is recorded in the Domesday Book of London in the year 1086. Early examples of the surname recording include Peter Toli in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in 1155, and later from the registers of the diocese of the city of London, Hanna Tulley who married Thomas Dikes on September 18th 1662 at St. James church, Clerkenwell. A coat of arms granted to Tully has the blazon of Vert, a chevron between three silver wolves' heads, argent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Richard Toly. This was dated 1150, in the Chartulary of the Priory of St. Thomas, the Martyr, Stafford, during the reign of King Stephen of England, 1135 - 1154. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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