Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Pigot Name
Origins of Name:
The Pigot surname originated in Normandy and made its way to England after the Norman conquest of England of 1066. The surname was a descriptive surname originally deriving from the Germanic word ‘pic’ which means sharp or pointed. It was used to describe a home near a pointed hill, use of a pointy tool, sharp object, or weapon, or a nickname for a tall person who was thin. Norman use would combine ‘pic’ with the suffixes ‘et’ or ‘ot’ and the surname Picot or Pigot was created.
More common variations are:
Pigott, Piggot, Piggett, Piggott, Piggot, Pigot, Picot
The first known instance of the surname was in Cheshire and Cambridgeshire. Picot of Cambridge was a Norman landowner who would eventually be appointed by William the Conqueror as the first Sheriff of Cambridgeshire in return for his loyalty. The family would lose their entire estate when his son Robert was connected in a conspiracy against King Henry I. Robert left the country and the entire family’s estate was forfeited.
The first known recording of the surname Pigot is of Roger Picot in 1086 in the Domesday Book of Cheshire.
William Piket was recorded in 1177 in Berkshire, Waubert Pyket was recorded in 1277 in London, and Peter Pygot was recorded in 1285 in Cambridgeshire.
Adam Pickett was the commander of the ship New London in 1679, which would sail for Barbados.
3,500 in the United States
1,700 in England
540 in Australia
Mary Pigot (1640), former wife of Sir Robert Burdett, 3rd Baronet
George Pigot (1719), 1st Baron Pigot former governor of Madras
British Major General Henry Pigot(1750), British army officer
Edward Pigot (1858), Irish/Australian Jesuit priest, seismologist and astronomer
John Edward Pigot (1822), Irish music collector
Neil Pigot (1961), Australian actor
Pigot Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Pigot blazon are the fusil, pike fish, martlet and mullet. The two main tinctures (colors) are azure and gules.
The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli . Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” .
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries . Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone..
The fusil is a shape rather like a lozenge but taller and narrower, hence fusily refers to a field of similar shapes arranged in a regulat pattern. It is though that the shape originally derived from that of a spindle of yarn. Wade believes that the symbol is of very great age and quotes an earlier writer, Morgan who ascribes it the meaning of “Negotiation”.
Fish in great variety abound in Heraldry, many different species inhabit coats of arms , although truth be told many of the actual images are sometimes indistinguishable, being shown as a stylised, and easily recognised “trout” shape that a child might draw. The actual name used in the coat of arms may be some play-on-words or allusion to the family name, as in the famous arms of the de Lucy family, being “Gules, three lucies or”, this being an ancient name for the fish we call today a “pike”. It is possible that the pike fish has been used in this fashion, or it may simply relate to some fishing activity in the history of the family.
The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. . Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” . Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.