This most interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a variant of "Pretty", which originated as a nickname for either a fine, handsome fellow, or for someone who was clever, cunning or crafty, derived from the Middle English "prety, prity", fine, pleasing, excellent, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "praettig", clever, artful, wily (from "praett", trick). Another variant of Pretty is Pret(t)yman, which has been established in Suffolk since the 14th Century; William Praytman of Bacton was named in a charter in 1393. The surname itself first appears in the early 14th Century (see below), while other early examples include William Pritty, in the "Inquisitions and Assessments relating to Feudal Dues" in 1428; Thomas Praty, recorded in the "Calendar of Letter Books ... of the City of London" in 1479; and Agnes Praty in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1524. A Coat of Arms depicting a shield per pale silver and red, three wolves' heads counterchanged, was granted to a Pritty family. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Prytty, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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