This interesting and unusual surname, of Norman origin, with variant spellings Pettifer, Pettifor, Pettyfar, Pettafor, Pottiphar, Pudephar etc., derives from the old French "pedefer" i.e., "pied de fer" meaning "iron foot", ultimately from the late Latin "pes de ferro", and was originally given as a nickname to a soldier who was particularly good at marching, or perhaps to someone who had lost a foot, and has an artificial one made of iron fitted. The name was widespread, and sometimes used as a nickname alone: Piedefer, the 1185 "Pipe Rolls of Worcestershire", and Pie de Fer, the 1186 "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk".Early recordings of the surname include: John Pedefer, the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire, dated 1190; William Petifer, (Sussex 1327), and William Petefer, (Huntingdonshire in 1392). In 1548 another William Petefer or Petyfre was entered in the "Oxford University Register". On February 8th 1790, Hannah Pettyfer and John Bateman were married in Saint Leonards, Shoreditch, London and on August 30th 1801 Sarah Ann Pettyfer, an infant was christened in St. Giles, Cripplegate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Herbertus Pedesferri, which was dated circa 1090, "The Old English Byname Register", during the reign of King William 11, nicknamed, "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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