Pitforthay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The present generation of the Pitforthay family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived in the parish of Pitchford found in Shropshire.
Early Origins of the Pitforthay family
The surname Pitforthay was first found in Shropshire at Pitchford, a small village and parish, in the union of Atcham, hundred of Condover where the village derives its name from the strong pitchy smell that emanates from the oily substance that frequently covers the surface of the water. Hence the place means "ford near a place where pitch if found," from the Old English words "pic" + "ford." 
Alternatively the family could have originated in Pickforde in Ticehurst (Sussex). 
The Domesday Book of 1086 lists the place as Piceforde  and also lists Pitchford Hall as "Edric, and Leofric and Wulfric held it as thress manors; they were free." 
Today Pitchford Hall is a large Grade I listed Tudor country house that was mostly rebuilt c. 1560. Portions of the Roman Watling Street runs through the grounds. Early records show that Geoffrey de Pykeford, a crusader, was Lord of the Manor from 1272. He also built the local church of St Michael, which contains an oak effigy of him.
Early rolls included: Alcock de Pykeford was listed in the Assize Rolls of 1288; and Thomas Pikeford in the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1332. 
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had only one listing for the family: John de Picford, or Picheford found in Salop (Shropshire.)  The Writs of Parliament included two listings: John de Pycheford, 1277 and Galfridus de Picheford, 1296.
Early History of the Pitforthay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Pitforthay research. Another 99 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1591, 1599, 1649 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Pitforthay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Pitforthay Spelling Variations
Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Pitforthay include Pickford, Pitchford, Picford, Pichford, Pitford and others.
Early Notables of the Pitforthay family (pre 1700)
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Pitforthay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Pitforthay family
Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Pitforthay were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: Susan Pickford, who came to Barbados in 1659; Mary Pickford, who arrived in Virginia in 1663 with her husband; John Pitford arrived in Barbados in 1689.
Related Stories +
- ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)