Recorded in many forms as shown below, this interesting surname is English but of Norman-French origin. In some spellings it may look locational but it is fact always job descriptive. It derives from the phrase "pied de fer" meaning iron foot, and ultimately from the Latin "pes de ferro". It was originally given as a nickname to a soldier who was particularly good at marching, or perhaps to someone who had lost a leg and had an artificial one fitted. The name is widespread and was sometimes used as a personal name alone as in the case of one Piedefer recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Worcestershire in 1185, and "Pie de Fer" in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in 1186. The surname is first recorded in the late 11th Century (see below), whilst John Pedefer appears in the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire in 1190, and William Pedifer is noted as witness in the 1221 Assize Court Rolls of Warwickshire. In the modern idiom the surname spellings include Petifer, Pettyfar and Pettafor, Pettipher, Petteford, Pettiford and Pottiphar. Recordings of the name from Church Registers include: the christening of Marchall, daughter of Pettor Pettforde, in Totnes, Devonshire, on April 27th 1601; the marriage of Rose Pettiford and Richard Evans at St. Gregory by St. Paul, London, on July 8th 1628; and the christening of Cicilia, daughter of Jeremie Pettiford, at St. Giles' Cripplegate, also in London, on September 16th 1638. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Herbertus Pedesferri which was dated circa 1090, in the "Old English Byname Register", during the reign of King William 11, known as "Rufus", 1087 - 1100. 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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