This unusual surname is of early medieval English origin, and is specifically a West-Country and Cornish form of the male personal name "Peter". The personal name derives from the Greek given name "Petros", from "Petras", rock, stone, and was an extremely popular name throughout Christian Europe in the Middle Ages, partly because it was the name borne by the apostle Simon after Christ gave it to him, saying: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church". The name generated a great many variant forms of the surname, among them the West Country Pither and Pether and the patronymics Pithers and Pethers. One Fardynado Pyther was christened in Wandsworth, London, on February 18th 1627, and the marriage of John Pither and Marie Helpe was recorded at St. Gregory's by St. Paul, also in London on August 18th 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Pither, which was dated 1287, in the "Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire", 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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