1893 text

Tilt (A.S. teld) represents a tent or awning. It was used for a cloth covering for a cart or waggon, or for a canopy or awning over a portion of a boat.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

2 Annotations

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Royal Museum at Greenwich has a full hull model of a Gravesend tilt boat as used in 1650 for commuting between London and Gravesend:


It is a two-masted passenger vessel, built in ‘bread and butter’ fashion with a painted finish.

The model is decked, equipped, and fully rigged with the sails set. It is inscribed ‘Long Perry FCPN f 1951 I.XXIV c1650’ on the port keel. It is flying the red ensign from the stern and also illustrates the large canvas tilt, or cover, which was used to protect both the passengers and cargo from the elements when making its way up and down the Thames.

It is also fitted with two small masts rigged with spritsails, a sailing rig that is still used by Thames sailing barges today.

According to the Virtual Grub Street blog, "Most ships from ports north of France put in at Gravesend just up from the mouth of the Thames. Upon each high tide passenger barges traveled the 20 miles to London for a fare, in 1588, of 2 pence. More comfortable tiltboats were available for 6 pence."


San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Christ Squire looked up the OED definition for us:

Re: ‘ . . we with the tilt kept ourselves dry . . ’

‘tilt, n.1 < Doublet of Middle English tild, teld n., perhaps influenced by tent.
1. A covering of coarse cloth, in early quots. of hair-cloth; an awning; a booth, tent, or tabernacle.

2. spec. An awning over a boat.
1611 T. Middleton & T. Dekker Roaring Girle sig. I, A boate with a tilt ouer it.

1716 J. Gay Trivia i. 11 The rowing Crew To tempt a Fare, cloath all their Tilts in Blue . .

Log in to post an annotation.

If you don't have an account, then register here.


Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.