Recorded as Fettes, Fettis, Phettis, and Fittis, this is a Scottish surname. The famous book of Scottish Surnames by the late Professor Black of New York and written between 1900 and 1950 does not attempt to explain the origin of the name except that as shown below, it was first recorded in Scotland in 1446. This is rather late for a british Isles surname ,and suggests that it is a variant of something else. The only near name would seem to be Fiddes. This is the modern spelling of Fothes in the year 1207 from the barony of Fothes in Kincardinshire, and allowing for both dialect and plain poor spelling over the centuries this may also have developed into Fettes or Fittis. Another possibilty is a nickname from the pre 7th century Old English word "foett" meaning round, with the suffix "-s" denoting the patronymic "son of". Early examples of late medieval recordings include John Fettais who was summoned in judgement in 1519 for non payment of fines, whilst Alexander and Andrew Fettes appear in the rolls of the Sheriff Court of Aberdeenshire in 1603. Sir William Fettes (1750-1836) was the founder of Fettes College, Edinburgh. He devoted part of his estate to an endorsment for education of orphan or otherwise needy children. James Fetes was an Irish famine emigrant who sailed from Belfast aboard the ship "Europe of Liverpool" bound for New York on October 29th 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lowrens Fettas. This was dated 1446, in the town of Brechin, during the reign of King James 11 of Scotland, 1437 - 1460. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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