Recorded in the spellings of Pit, Pitt, and the patronymics Pits, Pitts and Pitson, this is an English surname. It is residential and derives from the Olde English pre 7th century word "pytt" meaning a pit or hollow, and given to one residing by this natural or man-made feature. Residential 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 some cases the surname can be locational from one of the places called Pitt as recorded in Hampshire, or from Pett in East Sussex.The early recordings include Thomas de la Pitte in the Assize Court Rolls of Somerset in 1225, 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), the second son of William Pitt, first Earl of Chatham. He was also the youngest ever prime minster of England. He died in office in 1806 shortly after the battle of Trafalgar. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geruase de la Puette. This was dated 1182, in the "Pipe Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Henry 11nd, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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