This interesting and unusual name is an example of the common medieval practice of creating a surname from a nickname, in this instance one that originally denoted an apprentice who had completed his period of training. The derivation is from the Middle English "parfit", meaning 'fully trained" or "well versed", from the Old French "parfit(e)", meaning "completed", "perfect", ultimately from the latin "perfectus" a derivative of "perficere" to finish, accomplish. It is, in this sense of fully trained, accomplished, that Chaucer speaks of the knight in the "Canterbury Tales" as "a veray parfit gentil knight". The name development has included "Richard Parfet" (1196, Somerset) and William Perfyt (1383, Hampshire). On January 16th 1704, Sarah, daughter of William and Margaret Perfect was christened at St. Paul's, Covent Garden, Westminster. Ann, daughter of John and Mary Parfitt, was christened on July 27th 1708 at St. Andrew, Holborn, London. Mary Parfitt married William Littlebury in London in 1717. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Vnfridus Parfait, which was dated 1115, in the Winton Register, Hampshire, during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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