Last name: Pitcher
This unusual surname, found chiefly in East Anglia, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is thought, in some cases, to be from an occupational name for a "caulker", one who sealed the seams of ships with a mixture of rope fibres and pitch. The derivation is from the Middle English (1200 -1500) "pich", itself from the Olde English pre 7th Century "pic", meaning "pitch". Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Alternately, it may be a regional name for someone from Picardy in Northern France, a region adjoining Normandy, from which many of William the Conquerors followers came, thus introducing this name into England after the 1066 Invasion. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the christening of Matthew Pitcher on December 26th 1581, at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the marriage of Dorothea Pitcher and Radulphus Hopkins on February 4th 1590, also at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name is described thus: Or (gold), a bend gules (red) surmounted by another argent (silver), the Crest being a demi man in a military habit, holding a flag displayed azure (blue). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Picher, which was dated 1243, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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