English Place-name Society

Survey of English Place-Names

A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, founded 1923.


Early-attested site in the Parish of Barnby upon Don

Historical Forms

  • Thils 1279 YI
  • Tils, Tyls 1332,1353 FF 1379 PT 1434 Testii 1502 Ipm
  • parva Tils 1364 BM
  • magna Tils 1600 DoncCrt
  • (parva) Tilles 1398 BM
  • (Lyttyl) Tillis 1471 WillY
  • Tylthall als. Great Tylse 1565 FF
  • Tilse, Tylse 1587,1603 FF
  • Little Tilse 1610 ib
  • Tilts, Tylts 1573,1822 Langd
  • Great Tilts 1764 Glebe


This is a difficult and obscure name. The form Tils is probably the correct one and Thils is an occasional AN  spelling for Tils . The early appearance of -s rather than -es shows that it is not a normal ME plural form. A possible explanation is OFr  til 'a lime-tree', a masc. sb. from Vulgar Latin *tilius corresponding to Lat  tilia . This word occurs in many Fr  p.ns. such as Teil , Thil , etc. (Gröhler 1641, Vincent 242) and is found as e.ModE  tilie , tile , teile (cf. NED s.v. teil ).Tils is probably the OFr  plural form, and the late forms with Tilts have probably been influenced by a derivative e.ModE  tillet (from OFr  tillet ), also found in Fr p.ns.