This surname, recorded in the spellings of Pitt, Pitts, Pett, Petts, and Pott, is of Anglo-Saxon origin. It is topographical and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "pytt" meaning a pit or hollow, and given to one residing by this natural or man-made feature. 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. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century, and early 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. The most famous of the namebearers was probably William Pitt, the younger (1759 - 1806), second son of William Pitt, first Earl of Chatham. He was the youngest ever prime minster of England, from 1783 to 1801, elected again from 1804 to 1806. He died in office shortly after Trafalgar. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geruase de la (of the) Puette, which was dated 1182, in the "Pipe Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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