Tilley House

The Tilley House is an example of nineteenth century construction still in Elliston. The Tilley House, built in the 1850's, has an interesting history. Is it correct to refer to this structure as the Tilly or Tilley House? Actually both are correct but the latter spelling is more generally accepted. It is unclear when the letter “e” was added. One story places it about 1923 when Clarence Tilly ordered a blind from England for his shop window with his name on it. By mistake the name printed on the blind included an “e” but instead of having it replaced Clarence Tilley began to use the new spelling. Soon thereafter others began to follow his lead. However, this story may be just that a story. Upon his enlistment in the Newfoundland Regiment years earlier Clarence listed his surname as “Tilley” with the “e.” Therefore, this spelling must have been in use prior to the blind story.


The Tilley family, who originally owned the structure, were at the centre of life in Elliston in the latter half the nineteenth century. It is said that their account books provide a nominal census of the community. Besides business dealings, the family was heavily involved in the religious and social life of the community. They partially paid the St. Mary's Anglican Church, which was consecrated in 1872. They were also heavily involved in local education, the distribution of fishing berths, and road construction in the area from 1882-1885.


The house was constructed by the master builders Allan and Robert Ryder who also built other notable structures throughout the area. It is composed of pine and hemlock, and it stands three storeys high. The Tilley House was first used as a business and later was converted into a private residence. It was later recognized as a heritage structure in 1985, but sadly it has not been maintained since the restoration efforts were completed in 1987. At this point it is more of an eyesore than a heritage building.





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