Recorded in many spellings including Pitt, Pitts, Pett, Petts, Pott, Potts, Pettus, Pates, Patis, Patise, Pettis, and Pettys this is a surname of pre 7th century Olde English and Anglo-Saxon origins. It is usually topographical and derives from the Olde English pre 7th century word "pytt" meaning a pit or hollow, and where appropriate the fused suffix '-hus' meaning a house. This is also dialectally 'disguised' as -es, -en, - ys, or -ise. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. In this case the name may also be locational from one of the places named with element, for example Pitt in Hampshire, or Pett in East Sussex. Early examples of the surname recordings include Thomas de la Pitte in the 1225 Assize Court Rolls of Somerset, and Roger de Petts in the London rolls of 1276. Other interesting recordings of the surname showing its development over the centuries include William Bitheputte of Somerset in 1277, Johan atte Pitte of Surrey in 1294, and Thomas in the Pyt of Worcestershire in circa 1300. James Pettes at St Michael Cornhill, in 1562, and John Patyes at St Andrews Holborn, both in the city of London, are examples of later fused spellings. The most famous of the namebearers was probably William Pitt, the younger (1759 - 1806), the youngest ever prime minster of England, from 1783 to his death. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geruase de la Puette, which was dated 1182, in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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