Source: The Tilson Genealogy, From Edmond Tilson at Plymouth, N. E., 1638 to 1911, With brief sketches of the family in England back to 1066 by Mercer V. Tilson.Plymouth:The Memorial Press, 1911.

Tilson Genealogy

The Ville of Tilston

William, the Conqueror, gave the earldom of Chester to his nephew, Hugh Lupas, that monarch accompanied him as far as Malpas, where he invested him with the sovereignty of the country, and the Earl then marched toward Chester and took the city after having been thrice repulsed. In 1724 his remains were found in the chapter house of the Cathedral encased in stone in undisturbed security, over six hundred years, wrapped in leather; at the head of the coffin a stone, his name cut thereon. His sword is in the British Museum, and is nearly four feet long and heavy as to require much strength to brandish it. He died in 1101.

The castle at Chester was built by William the Conqueror, and occupied by Sir Hugh Lupas. The Barony of Malpas was given to Robert of Malpas, son of Hugh of Normandy. In which barony was Tilston.

Tilston appears to have been the most important and populous ville within the barony of Malpas with the exception of Christleton at the time of the Doomsday Survey. It formed a part of the great Barony of Malpas, and as such noticed in the survey. The township of Tilston is within the jurisdiction of the leets of Malpas, four miles northwest. William de Malpas released to Eynion, son of Richard de Tilston for his homage, these lands in Tilston, which he had of the gift of Eynion Ap Cadugan. The Tilstons sold their lands piece meal to Robert and John de Codington in the time of Edward II., and afterwards it passed to the Belwards, and to David, the Bastard, from whom it descended to the St. Pierres and Cokeseys. Eventually passed through the Hill, Breaton (of Shocklack) and the King families to Cholmondeleys. About 1788, sold by them to John Leache of Carden, Esq., and descended to J. H. Leache, who resided there in 1890. A portion recovered by Isabella Delves from the Cokeseys passed to the Breatons, afterwards to the Drakes of Shardeloes. Tilston Heath Hall belonged to the family of Gardner in 1662. This moiety was held under the Malpas family by the Tilstons until the reign of Edward II. James Tilson, Esq., a descendant of Henry Tilson (chaplain to Lord Stafford, and afterwards Bishop of Elphin) purchased an estate in this hamlet in the middle of the last century, on which he built a spacious mansion in imitation of the pointed style, to which he gave the name of Bolesworth Castle. Mr. Tilson being afterwards appointed consul to Cadiz, his house and estate was purchased by John Crewe, Esq., in 1763. It was resold to Aswald Moseley, Esq., and again by him to Thomas Tarldon in 1805. It is situated among the Broxton hills fronting toward Chester. The village of Tilston, 12 miles south of Chester, midway between Carden Hall and Malpas, lies in a low sequestered district under the Broxton hills amid shady lanes and cow lanes. It has a post office, church, hotel, two stores, grist mill and blacksmith shop. (See Lyson's Hist. Cheshire). Tilston is noticed in Doomsday as a part of the possessions of the Baron of Malpas. The manor shortly afterwards passed to the Abby of St. Werburgh, and was confirmed to Abbot Robert and his convent in the bull obtained from Pope Clement, under the name of Tiddverton. The following deeds relating to lands in Tilston are recorded in the Abby Chartulary. A grant of lands and a fourth part of the Vill and Mill by John, son of Bricans De'Pouton. A quit claim of the Vill by Andrew Batayle. Other grants by Richard, son of Simon de Tidulstan, by William de Auld de Tidulstan, and an agreement relating to Tilston Heath, between Thomas Abbot of St. Werburgh and Mathew, lord of Alpraham. After the dissolution, the manor of Tilston Fernall formed a part of the endowment of the dean and chapter of Chester, but fell afterwards into the hands of Sir Richard Cotton, and was confirmed to his son, George Cotton, among other fee farmers, by patent 19, Dec. 22, Eliza. The Hall was one of the seats of the Wilbraham family. (Ormerode His. Ches. says.) The Wilbrahams held lands here under Sir Richard Cotton before the accession of Elizabeth, 1558. The manor subsequently became united to the estate most probably by purchase from George Cotton. The residence of the Wilbrahams was taken down, and the outbuildings fitted up as a farm house. Near the site is a farm residence of William Hockenhall. Tilston Lodge, a handsome stuccoed mansion, in a small park, is the residence of Edwin Corbett, Esq., J. P., on the south side a fine sheet of water. The township of Tilston is thirteen miles south of Chester on the London road, and three miles southeast of Tarpoly. It lies in a flat, sandy and unpleasant situation. The services of Robert Viscount,, Cholmondeley of Kellis of the kingdom of Ireland, in a skirmish on Tilston Heath during the great Rebellion, are mentioned in his patent of the English barony of Cholmondeley, dated at Oxford, Sept. 1, 21, car. 1.

Tilston Origins

The Tilstons were for many generations of Tilston and afterwards of Huxley, there was a numerous male progeny of this family at the time of Glover's visitation in 1580. A younger branch was settled at Tottenhall, and younger branches of that in London and at Shropshire. We have not been able to ascertain whether any of these are extinct. Ralph settled at Newport. Thomas his son, changed his name to Tillotson, ancestor of John, Archbishop of Canterbury. Huxley, seven miles southeast from Chester, passed by sale to the Tilston, and the whole or part of it in marriage with a co-heiress of Tilston to the Bruins of Stapleford. The Tilstons had a seat at Huxley. A chapel in Waverton church was built and appropriated to the Tilstons of Huxley in 1640. Dr. Tilston, who died in 1764, is supposed to have been the last male heir of the Cheshire Tilstons. (See Hanshalls Hist. of Cheshire.)

Thomas Tilson was a prominent diplomatist in the middle of the 18th century. He became a Baronet. (See Thomas Carlyle's His. of Frederick the Great.)

Sir W. Lushington Tilson, who took the name of Lushington Learsh, died about 1885, and the title is I think extinct. He was a clergyman.

In 1890 the township or manor of Tilston was the property of Lord John Tollemache, where his family reside at Pecforton Castle, not far from the famous Tilston Castle, the walls of which remain and can be seen southeast from the Tower on the Wall at Chester. There are about eighty tenements on the estate, the greater number are rented with land for farming.

The township or manor of Tilston, Cheshire, Eng., seems to have existed under another name in saxon times as far back as 449, and to the time it was subdued by William, the Conqueror, a Norman, who was made King, Dec. 25, 1066. Lancashire and Cheshire counties were the last to yield. Chester was the last of the cities to submit, and Hugh Lupas, William's nephew, was made Earl. The manor of Tilston, being given to a Norman Knight, named Eynion, who thus became Sir Eynion de'Tilston. From him came all the branches of the Tilston families. The position of Tilston on the borders of wild Wales proves that Sir Eynion was a capable man and the family must have been a brave clan not to have had their throats cut from the time of Eynion to that of Nicholas de'Tilston in the reign of Edward 1st, when Wales was finally subdued in 1283. County influence of families was in early times very considerable; one branch possessed the manor of Tilston Fearneal in Cheshire. The walls of Tilston Castle still exist where the head of the family resided. The decay of the family dates from the commonwealth, the time of Cromwell, 1650 to 1658, old Chester was again the last to yield. It is said that the round heads hanged the head of the family for his desperate resistence in the cause of the Stuarts. In Charles the 1st reign, who succeeded to the throne in 1649, but was compelled to leave the country until the death of Cromwell in 1658, when he returned to the throne, there was still a Nicholas de'Tilston at Tilston Castle, with diminished resources. Some of the branches of Tilson went to Yorkshire and Lincolnshire; they were prominent in the reign of Charles 1st.

Tilston in the werrell hundred of Broxton, and deanery of Malpas, lies about three miles west of Malpas, and twelve miles south of Chester. A moiety of the manor of Tilston being a parcel of the barony of Malpas, belonged about the year 1600, to the Breretons. In the reign of Charles II., Sir Wm. Drake, the other moiety, purchased by J. Leashe, Esq., has passed by the name of the Earl's estate at Malpas. (See Lyson's His. Cheshire.)

Many of the shires were subdivided into what were called Hundreds. Each Hundred comprised a colony of one hundred families, or to put it more precisely, ten divisions. Each consisting of ten freeholders and their dependents, whose cause was championed by as many selected warriors sworn to defend them with their heart's blood. Between these hundred families a common bond existed; they also adopted a common name; they pledged to support the common defence of the hundred. Villages that were within the area of Saxon, England, are still said to be situated in such and such a Hundred.

By the word manor, so-called from the French manoir, a dwelling, and the Latin verb manere, to dwell, was originally meant an estate containing the dwelling or mansion of its feudal owner. The house itself was designated the manor house, and the owner, the Lord of the manor. The term mansion claims the same etymology.

The Tilson Name Appears

Right Rev. Henry Tilson, D. D., Yorkshire Bishop, was born at Heptonstall, near Halifax in 1576. He was entered as a student in Baliol College, Oxford, in the beginning of the year 1593; took one degree in arts as a member of that house four years after, and soon afterwards was elected one of Skirlawe's Fellows of University College, and took a degree of master as a member of that house. In October, 1615, he was made vicar of Rochdale, in Lancashire, worth 1500 a year; by the death of R. Kennion; and afterwards being made known to that most generous Count, Thomas, Earl of Strafford, he became his chaplain, and went with him in that capacity to Ireland, when that Earl was made Lord-Lieutenant thereof. Soon afterwards he was by him made Dean of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, commonly called Christ Church, in Dublin, and Vice-Chancellor of the University, where, continuing in good esteem for his learning and piety, he had the See of Elphin conferred upon him, to which being consecrated on the 23d of September, 1639, he endured soon after great misery by the rebellion that broke out in Ireland in 1641.

Sir James Ware in his history of the Irish Bishops, says: "Bishop Henry Tilson on the 16th of August, 1645, delivered the Castle of Elphin in the hands of the Lord President of Connaught; his son, Capt. Henry Tilson, who was governor of Elphin, having just before joined with Sir Charles Coot in opposition to the King's interest, and about the same time his library and goods were pillaged by Boctius Egan titular Bishop of Elphin, his damages amounting to the sum of four hundred pounds. Bishop Tilson fled for safety into England, and settled at Soothall near Batley in the parish of Dewsbury, Yorkshire, where some of his relatives lived, and where he resided three years, intending to have returned to Elphin, but never did. Having thirteen in his family and being stripped of his income, he was obliged to have recourse to such means for subsistance as his station in the church put in his power, for this purpose he consecrated a room at Soothall, called to this day, the Bishop's parlor, where he privately ordained and did weekly the offices of a clergyman, some of his neighbors being both hearers and benefactors to him, till Sir William Wentworth of Broton out of compassion to his distressed circumstances, employed him to preach at Cumberworth, allowing him a salary sufficient to support him. Thus was this Prelate oblige to stoop to become a country curate." It is said that he walked eleven miles to Emley church on Sundays and preached. Report says: "That on a sacrament day, people hearing that Bishop Tilson would preside, came in great numbers, and twenty-two bottles of wine were used in the services." The Tilsons were at Soothill in 1748. The writer visited at Soothill Hall, July 27, 1890. The gentleman residing there, very kindly explained to me, and showed me the Bishop's parlor. Upon a piece of carving in the room was 1647. It was probably the date of consecrating the room. He died March 31, 1655, aged 80 years, and buried in the southeast corner of Dewsbury church. The following was taken from the Register of the Dewsbury Parish church. Henry Lord Bishop of Elphin buried the 2d day of April 1655. In the chapel is a monument on the wall with the inscription as given below:

P. M.
Reverendi in Christo Patris
Henrici Tilson
Hen F.
Episcopi Elphinensis
In Hibernia.
Nati A 1576 Juxta Halifax
In Agro Eboracenci.
Denati 31 Die Martii A 1655.
In Eodem Agro
Viri ob Eruditionemet Pietatem
Parentis Charissimi
Nathan Tilson
Hen F. Hen. N.

The arms on monument are, "Or a bend cotised between two garbs Azure, changed with a mitre of the field," which are so like the Arms of Tillotson, that one would almost imagine that these names, if not their families, were originally the same. Watson's history says: "I have been credibly informed that the late James Tilson, who died at Cadiz said this Bishop's family came originally from Tilston in Cheshire. If so, they were absolutely the same. (Watson's history of Halifax, published 1775.)

There are portraits of Nathaniel Tilson and family (son of Bishop Tilson) with his wife, daughter, son Henry, and younger son, three-quarter length figures, on canvas 50 in. by 60 in., painted by Henry Tilson, in possession of Mr. Thomas Shaen Carter, No. 980, in South Kensington Catalogue. There is also an original portrait of Henry Tilson, a skillful artist in portraiture, the son of Nathaniel Tilson. He was born in Yorkshire in 1619, and was the grandson of Bishop Tilson. He was a pupil of Sir Peter Lely, and was esteemed a good painter of portraits, both in oil and crayons, especially in the latter. He died in 1645, or 1655. (From Yorkshire Weekly Post, May 24, 1890.)

Tilson to Tillotson

Watson's His. of Halifax, Eng., Pub. 1775.

Archbishop John Tillotson's pedigree is as follows: Nicholas de Tilston, Lord of Tilston in Cheshire, had John de Tilston, who had Nicholas de Tilston (9 Edward III.) who had John Tilston of Tilston, who married Joanna 3d dau. of Thomas Danyers of Bradley in Cheshire, by whom Robert Tilston of Tilston, who had Roger Tilston of Tilston, Esq., in the time of Henry V., who married Catherine, 2d dau. of Sir John Leigh of Baguley in Cheshire, Knt., by whom Thomas Tilston of Tilston, Esq., who married Elizabeth, dau. and heiress of Hugh Heath of Huxley in Cheshire, by whom 1st, Hugh Tilston of Huxley, Esq. (or as one authority calls him John), and 2d, Richard Tilston. This Richard married Maud, dau. of Richard Bostock, by whom he had Thomas (who had issue), and Richard and others. This Richard Tilston was of Newport in Shropshire, (and by an unaccountable mistake, Dr. Birch in his life of the Archbishop, calls him first Roger and then Ralph.) He mar. Elizabeth, 2d dau. of William Leighton, second son of Sir Thomas Leighton of Wattsborough in Shropshire, Knt., by whom Ralph Tilston of Goldaston, Tristram Tilston, Thomas Tilston of Wookliff, in the parish of Carlton in Craven, and William Tilston. This Thomas changed his name from Tilston to Tillotson, as I was informed by the late Rev. Mr. Tillotson of St. Paul's school, who heard his father say that the name was altered as above; the said Mr. Tillotson's father was told so by this Mr. Tillotson's grandfather, who was father to the Archbishop. This Thomas Tilston, alias Thomas Tillotson, had George Tillotson, who married Eleanor, dau. of Elias Nutter of Pendleforest in Lancashire, by whom Robert Tillotson of Sowerby, who was buried at Sowerby Feb. 22, 1682-3, age 91.

Robert Tillotson (was a Puritan clothier); married Mary, dau. of Thomas Dobson of the Stones in Sowerby, by whom he had Robert John (Archbishop of Canterbury), Joshua and Israel. John Tillotson was born in Tuile-lane, Sowerby, Yorkshire, Eng., Oct., 1630. He studied at Clare Hall, Cambridge, 1647, took degree of B. A., 1650, and A. M., 1654; in 1657 became private tutor in the family of Edmund Predeaux, Devonshire. Attorney General, under the protector, but returned to London before Cromwell's death. He became a preacher in 1661. At the Restoration he went over to the established Church. In 1664 he married Elizabeth, dau. of Peter French, canon of Christ Church, Oxford, and niece of Oliver Cromwell. Tillotson employed his controversial weapons with some skill against Atheism and Popery. On the 5th Nov., 1678, he preached a sermon against Popery before the House of Commons, in which he maintained that it was their duty to make provision against the propagation of a religion more mischievious than irreligious itself; but in his sermon on Protestant religion in 1680, before the King, he propounded the proposition that Catholics could enjoy their own faith, but not openly draw men off from the profession of the established religion. He attended Lord Russell on the scaffold in 1683. He enjoyed the friendship of Lady Russell, and through her obtained influence with Princess Anne, who followed his advice in settlement of the Crown on William of Orange. He possessed special confidence of William and Mary, and was made clerk of the Closet to the King, Mar. 27, 1689. Through his advice the King appointed ecclesiastical commission to reconcile dissenters. He was elected as Archbishop of Canterbury, which place he accepted in April, 1691. His attempt to reform certain abuses of the Church made some enemies, and the Jacobites took every advantage and persued him, but could neither provoke nor fright him in his duty. He was taken ill during service in church and died in London, Nov. 24, 1694.

The arms of Tilston or Tillotson are now, or lately were, on the walls of Wookliff Chapel. Viz: Azure a bend cotised between two garbs or crest; bear's head issuing out of a mural Crown.

Motto: Jactor non Mirgor.

These are the Arms of Tilston of Tilston in Cheshire, and were also confirmed by William Flower, Norroy, Aug. 28, 1580. 22 Eliz. to Ralph Tilson (or Tilston) of Huxley in Cheshire.