This interesting surname, with variant spellings Prichet, Pritchitt, Pritchett, Prickett, Pritchatt, etc., derives from the Middle English 'prik(e)' or 'prich' (Old English pre 7th Century 'pric(a)') meaning point or prick, plus the diminutive suffix 'ett'. Originally, it would have been a metonymic occupational name for a maker or user of any of various pointed instruments. It may also have been a nickname for a tall thin man. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from the medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics, as in this instance, the tall thin one. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below). Recordings of the surname from London church registers include; Frances Pratchett, who married Edward Coytmor on May 9th 1675, at Allhallows, London Wall; Roger Pratchett, who married Mary Petteway at St. James', Duke's Place, on August 11th 1691; and Hannah, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Pratchett, who was christened on January 23rd 1718, at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Priket, which was dated 1296, in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, 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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