Blazons & Genealogy Notes
1) (Boconnock, co. Cornwall; Baron Camelford, extinct 1801; Thomas Pitt, Esq., of Boconnock, son of Thomas Pitt, Esq., of Boconnock, elder brother of William, first Earl of Chatham, was created Baron Camelford, 1784). Motto—Per ardua liberi. Sa. a fess chequy ar. and az. betw. three bezants. Crest—A stork ar. Supporters—Two Cornish choughs reguard. wings elevated ppr.
2) (Earl of Chatham, extinct 1835). Motto—Benigno numine. Sa. a fess chequy ar. and az. betw. three bezants. Crest—A stork ppr. beaked and membered or, resting the dexter claw on an anchor erect, cabled of the last. Supporters—Dexter, a lion ramp. guard. ppr. charged on the right shoulder with an acorn or, slipped and leaved vert; sinister, a buck ppr. attired, collared, and chained or.
3) (Earl of Londonderry; Col. Thomas Pitt M.P., of the same family as Pitt, Earl of Chatham, m. Lady Frances Ridgeway, dau. and co-heiress of Robert, Earl of Londonderry, and was created Earl of Londonderry in 1726; title extinct, 1764). Motto—Amitié. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, sa. a fess chequy ar. and az. betw. three bezants; 2nd and 3rd, sa. two wings conjoined ar. Crest—A stork ar. beaked and membered or, holding up its dexter foot. Supporters—Two falcons sa. beaked, membered, and belled or, each gorged with a chaplet of red roses, barbed and seeded ppr.
4) (Churwiard; Sir Edward Pitt, Sheriff co. Worcester, temp. James I.). Az. three bars ar. in chief as many estoiles or.
5) (Ewern-Stepleton, co. Dorset; granted 1604 to William Pitt, Esq., of that place). Same Arms. Crest—A stork ar. beaked and legged ppr.
6) (East Mount, near Cirencester, co. Gloucester). Same Arms. Crest—A stork ppr.
7) (Priorsley and Shiffnall, co. Salop; granted, 1758, to Humphrey Pitt, Esq.). Gu. an elephant erminois, on a chief or, a human heart ppr. betw. two horseshoes az. Crest—A cubit arm erect ppr. erased at the elbow gu. bolding a banner or, charged with a human heart also ppr.
8) (Kyre-Ward, cos. Salop and Worcester). Barry of six or and az. on a chief of the second three estoiles pierced of the first. Crest—A dove, wings expanded ar. beaked and legged gu. betw. two eare of wheat or.
9) (Cricket-Malherby, co. Somerset). Gu. a fess gobony counter-gobony or and az. betw. three bezants. Crest—A stork ppr. resting the dexter claw on a bezant.
10) (Causeway and Melcombe Regis, co. Dorset, and North Crickett, co. Somerset). Barry of ten or and az. over all an escutcheon ar.
11) (co. Worcester). Barry of ten or and az. eight inescutcheons, three, two, two, and one, ar. Crest—On a trunk of a tree, lying fessways and raguly, vert, a stag ppr. attired or, betw. two acorn branches, sprouting from the tree ppr. fructed gold.
12) Erm. on a buck’s head a cross formée fitchée gu.
13) (Goldhall, co. York; quartered by Lysley). Or, a bend vair betw. three hurts.
14) (Dublin; Pun Ent. Ulster’s Office, 1622, John Pitt, Collector of the Customs). Az. three bars ar. in chief as many estoiles of the last, a crescent for diff.
15) (co. Bedford). Per pale ar. and gu. a chev. betw. three trefoils counterchanged.
16) (London, and co. Somerset). Gu. a feas counter-componée or and az. betw. three bezants. Crest—A stork ar. beaked and legged gu. resting the dexter claw on a bezant.
17) (co. Worcester). Az. three bars or, in chief as many estoiles of the last. Crest—A dove ppr. enclosed by a wreath of wheat or.
18) (co. Kent). Ar. a chev. gu. betw. three peacocks’ heads erased az.
Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Pitt Name
Origins of Name:
The surname of Pitts is an English surname, that is considered to be residential and derives from from the Old English pre 7th Century word “pytt” which translates to mean a pit or a hollow, and was meant to name one person who resided by a natural or man-made feature. It is important to note that these residential, topographical, or locational surnames were given most often to workers who moved out of the place of birth, most often seeking work. It was much easier to denote people by where they came from, as a means of separating them, or grouping them.
More common variations are:
Pitt, Pittis, Pittas, Pittos, Pittes, Pittss, Pittus, Peitts, Puitts, Pittsi, Pittsw
The first recorded spelling of the surname of Pitts was found in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex in the year 1182. One Geruase la Puette was recorded and mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex, which was written and decreed under the reign of King Henry II, who ruled from the year 1154 to the year 1189. Other mentions of this surname of Thomas de la Pitte who was recorded in the Assize Court Rolls of Somerset in the year 1225, and then Roger de Petts who was recorded in the London Rolls of the year 1276. The early recordings of this surname also manifested with different spellings based on the areas that they were appearing in. In the year 1277, William Bitheputte was recorded in Somerset, and Johan ate Pitte of Surrey was recorded in the year in 1294, while Thomas in the Pyt of Worcestershire in the year 1300. In England, the most famous of the name bearers was William Pitt, who was the younger second son of William Pitt, who was the first Earl of Chatham. In England, those with the surname of Pitts are highly concentrated in the city of London and in the County of Yorkshire.
In Scotland, those with the surname of Pitts are commonly found in Roxburghshire, Angus and Lanarkshire counties.
During the European Migration, settlers across Europe decided to leave their homes, and sought after a better life. This new life was largely available in the United States of America, which at that time was referred to as The New World, or The Colonies, and promised freedom from religious persecution, new fulfilling and largely available work, and land. However, during the long voyages that it took to make it to the United States, the vessels of travel were cramped, allowing for the spread of disease among much of the traveling population. This not only left some travelers deceased en route to their new life, it also caused many of the emigrating passengers to arrive in the New World ailed by disease. This spread of disease or possibly the lack of recording, there are only a few members of the Pitts family that made it to the United States. The first of them was Francis Pitts, who arrived in Virginia in the year 1623. Those with the surname of Pitts are found in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, South Carolina and the state of California.
In the 1650s Christopher Pitt arrived in Bermuda, and up until today the family line is there. Pitt’s Bay is named after them. The family for the past five generations have been supplying the island with tobacco.
United States 54,564
South Africa 986
New Zealand 222
Milton Pitts (1912-1994) who was a barber for the White House. His clients included many presidents, including Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush
Helen Pitts (1838-1903) who was an American suffragist, and the second wife of Frederick Douglas, and who founded the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association
Frank H. Pitts (born in 1943) who was a former professional American AFL football wide receiver
Byron Pitts (born in 1960) who is an American journalist and author, the Chief National Correspondent for The CBS Evening News
Curtis Pitts (1916-2005) who was an American designer of aerobatic biplanes, who made famous the Pitts Special
Elijah Eugene Pitts (1938-1998) who was an American NFL football halfback
Leonard Pitts Jr. (born in 1957) who is an American journalist who won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary
Allen Pitts (born in 1964) who was an American born Canadian football player
Riley Leroy Pitts (1937-167) who was a United States Army Captain, he was also the first person to be awarded the Medal of Honor as an African-American commissioned
John Emmett Pitts Jr. (1924-1977) brigadier general in the United States Air Force
Pitt Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Pitt blazon are the bezant, chequy, fesse and elephant. The three main tinctures (colors) are sable, or and azure .
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur . In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” . The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance .
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose xz`, and the bezant Is a typical example of this, and in British Heraldry always takes the tincture or. It shares the same root as the name Byzantium, being associated with the gold coin of that city and indeed, in some heraldic traditions is represented as a coin-like disk in perspective. Wade suggests that the use of this device refers to ” one who had been found worthy of trust and treasure.”
Chequy (a word with a surprising number of different spellings!) is what is known as a treatment, a repeating pattern usually used to fill the whole background of the shield with a series of alternately coloured squares . These squares are usually quite small (there should be at least 20 in total), giving the appearance of a chess board, but any combination of colours may be used. It can also be used as a patterning on some of the larger ordinaries, such as the pale and fess, in which case there are three rows of squares. Wade, an authority on heraldic meaning groups chequy with all those heraldic features that are composed of squares and believes that they represent “Constancy”, but also quotes another author Morgan, who says that they can also be associated with “wisdom…verity, probity…and equity”, and offers in evidence the existence of the common English saying that an honest man is a ”Square Dealer” .
The fesse (also found as fess) is one of the major ordinaries to found in heraldry, being a bold, broad, horizontal band across the centre of the shield. It may originally have arisen from the planks of which a wooden shield can be constructed, the centremost plank being painted a different colour . It is instantly recognisable as a symbol, for example the arms of COLEVILLE granted during the reign of Hery III are simply or, a fesse gules. With this clear association with the construction of the shield itself, Wade believes that the fesse can be taken to be associated with the military, as a “girdle of honour”.