In Dorset the surname
Pitfield evolved gradually from that of Pitfold during the seventeenth
century, with the Pitfold form staying in use until a later date in
some parishes than in others, and with some individuals being referred
to as Pitfield alias Pitfold. The earliest Pitfold traced in Dorset
was John Pytfolde, who
was taxed at Allington in 1525 and 1545. Despite lengthy research nothing
else has been discovered regarding John and he appears to have no ancestors
in Dorset, which seems to imply that he came from elsewhere in the country.
Pytfolde had a contemporary in William Pitfold of Swallowfield,
Berkshire, who died in 1565 leaving a will in which he named three sons.
At least two of these sons married but there is no record of any later
generation of Pitfolds in this part of the country. Other contemporaries
of John have been found in Surrey with the christening at Dorking, in
1541, of “William Pitfold, a bastard son of Alice”, whilst in 1542 a
Roger Pytfold married at Southwark, at that time part of Surrey. During
the next few hundred years there are further references to this family
in Southwark, with the name varying between Potfield, Petfield and Pitfield.
Still earlier references exist, also in the county of Surrey, in the
records of Waverley Abbey, which list a Phillip Pytfold who was ordained
a subdeacon in 1459 and a priest in 1462. These references may be significant
as there was a Pitfold Manor nearby at Haslemere, Surrey, which was
in existence as early as the tenth century. No connection between the
manor of Pitfold and the emergence of Pitfold as a surname has been
proven but it is a possibility, as many surnames evolved from place-names.
The earliest Pitfold
that I have come across is William Pitfold of London, who was a member
of the Guild of Merchant Taylors and a Freeman of the City of London.
In 1398 he is listed in the Pardon Rolls as William Pitfold alias William
Self and he died in 1422.
It still seems impossible
to say with any certainty who the ancestors of the early Dorset Pitfolds/Pitfields
were, although a book on the origin of surnames, published during the
last century, suggested that the Pitfield name came from one Ralph de
Pettiville who came to England from the town of Pettiville, near Rouen
in France, in 1198. There seems to be no evidence to substantiate this
and I believe that the ancestors of John
Pytfolde of Allington probably came from central southern England
where the earliest Pitfold references have been found.
There is another
Pitfield family in existence - namely the Lancashire Pitfields. This
family is an offshoot of the Patefield/Peatfield families who were living
in that county at least as far back as 1540. Various parts of this family
changed their names from Patefield/Peatfield to Pitfield at different
times, long after the name was well established in Dorset and there
appearss to be no connection between the Dorset and Lancashire families.
The other versions of the name also still exist in that part of the
country. For further details of this family see Database
Pitfold of Dorking, Surrey
an illegitimate son, William Pitfold, christened in 1541.
Pytfold of Southwark, Surrey
at Southwark (now part of London) to the names Potfield, Petfield
and Pitfield in the next few hundred years, although no connection
with the Dorset Pitfields has been proven.
of Swallowfield, Berkshire
a will made in 1558 and proved n 1565 in which he named his wife as
Agnes. Probably married previously. Named three sons William Pitfold
the Elder, Richard Pitfold and William Pitfold the Younger. One of
these was married to an Agnes and a William Pitfold was married in
the nearby Hampshire parish of Wotton St. Lawrence in 1572 to Oliffe
Pytfolde of Allington, Dorset
at Allington in the years 1525 and 1545. Probably the father of Robert
Pitfold (-1568) of Allington from whom the majority of Pitfields
are desdended - for more information see Database