This interesting surname, of Norman origin, 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 had an artificial one made of iron fitted. The name was widespread and sometimes used as a nickname alone: "Piedefer" appears in the 1185 Pipe Rolls of Worcestershire, and "Pie de Fer" is noted in the 1186 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk. The surname is first recorded in the late 11th Century (see below). One John Pedefer appears in the 1190 Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire, and William Pedifer is noted as witness in the 1221 Assize Court Rolls of Warwickshire. In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings, ranging from Petifer, Pettyfar and Pettafor to Pettipher, 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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