This uncommon name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Pitchford near Shrewsbury in Shropshire. The place is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Piceforde"; in the 1194 Pipe Rolls of the county as "Picheford"; and as "Picford" in the Book of Fees for Shropshire of 1242. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "pic", pitch, with "ford", ford; the pitch here refers to the mineral kind, and there was still a bituminous well at the location in the mid 19th Century, as recorded by R.W. Eyton, in his "Antiquities of Shropshire" (London, 1854 - 1860). Locational surnames were acquired by the lord of the manor, and local landowners, and were used particularly as a means of identification by those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include John de Picford or de Pichefort, listed in the Book of Fees for 1277. The modern surname forms are Pitchford, Pitchforth and Pitchfork, and recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of William Pitchford and Katherine Mowson at St. Lawrence Jewry, on December 10th 1580, and the christening of Littie, daughter of William Pitchford, on January 15th 1586, at St. Mary Colechurch. The family Coat of Arms is a blue lion passant armed and langued red, on a gold shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Picheford, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Shropshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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