This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is topographical, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "pytt" meaning a pit or hollow, and given to one residing by this natural or man-made feature. Topographical 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. The name may also be locational from one of the places named with element, for example Pitt in Hampshire, or Pett in East Sussex. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below). One Thomas de la Pitte appears in the 1225 Assize Court Rolls of Somerset. Several interesting forms of the name have been recorded, such as: Bitheputte (Somersetshire, 1277); atte Pitte (Surrey, 1294); and "in the Pyt"! (Worcestershire, circa 1300). A famous namebearer was William Pitt the younger (1759 - 1806), second son of William Pitt, first Earl of Chatham. He was twice prime minster of England, from 1783 to 1801, and again from 1804 to 1806. His burial took place in Westminster Abbey on February 2nd 1806. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geruase de la (of the) Puette, which was dated 1182, in the "Pipe Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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