Recorded in several forms including Pyatt, Pyett, Pyott, this unusual surname is English, but of French origins. Probably introduced at the time of the famous Conquest of England in 1066, the derivation is from the pre 9th century French word pye, meaning the magpie. This surname is the diminutive form, the suffix denoting the 'son of' or 'little', from petit. Presumably the original surname was a nickname for one who enjoyed bright clothes. Very occasionally it may be locational from the village of Pyotts Hill in Hampshire. During the Middle Ages when it was becoming increasingly common for people to migrate from their birth place to seek work elsewhere, they would often adopt or be given, as their surname, the name of their former home as an easy form of identification, and thus resulting in the wide dispersal of the name. Early examples of the surname recording in the city of London are those of Elzabeth Pyatt who married Samuell Dowell on 10th August 1582 at the church of St. Gregory by St. Paul's Cathedral in the city of London, and Thomas Pyett, who was a christening witness at St Giles Cripplegate, on August 14th 1676. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon Pyot. This was dated 1297, in the surviving rolls of the Duchy of Cornwall, during the reign of King Edward Ist, known to history as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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