This interesting and unusual name, with variant spellings Petto, Peyto and Petow, is of French locational origin from Poitou, a former province of West Central France, written as Peitow in the Anglo-French. The surname is first recorded in England in the early part of the 13th Century, (see below). One, John de Peyto, witness, was noted in the 1247, "Fine Court Rolls of Buckinghamshire". The Old French "Poitevin", (Anglo-French "Peitevin"), meant "man from Poitou", and one finds a Rogerus Peteuinus, recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Essex. Entries in English church registers show the christening of Joyce, daughter of Richard Peyto, in Upton on Severn, Worcestershire, on November 8th 1573, and the christening of one, Gut Peto in the same place on April 23rd 1581. On April 20th 1608, Agnys Peto and William Banyester were married in St. Bride, Fleet Street, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Peytowe, which was dated 1222, in the "Curia Regis Rolls or Wiltshire", 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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