Recorded in a wide range of spellings including Tye, Tie, Tight, Tyt, Titt, Tittle, Tythe, and Tyght, this interesting surname is English. It is topographical and originates either from lands known as "The tye", being common lands near to a village where cattle were gathered perhaps for slaughtering, or from a pre 7th century Old English word "titt" meaning a small hill or mound, as in the village name of Tydd St Mary in Lincolnshire, and recorded as Tite, Tid and Tit in the 11th century. It is also possible that the surname may occasionally originate as a short form of a village name such as Tytherleigh, in Devonshire, whose meaning is probably the common lands in the wood. Residential surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. In this case the name development since the early Elizabethan period has included Raffe Tyte and Thomazine Tyght in London in 1588, William Tight also in London in 1620, and Joan Tighte of Bedfordshire in 1621. Other recordings include Hestor Tyte, the daughter of Lewis Tyte, christened at St Olaves, Hart Street, in the city of London, on December 31st 1644, and Hannah Titt, the daughter of Thomas Titt, christened at St Margarets, Westminster, on March 1st 1667. An interesting namebearer was the architect Sir William Tite (1798 - 1873). He built the Royal Exchange in London in 1844, and was largely responsible for the Thames Embankment. The first recorded spelling of the family name is probably that of Hugh de la Tye, of the county of Sussex, in 1273 or John Tye of Norfolk in the same year. 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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