The surname of FITE is of French origin, and was an early occupational name for one who prepared things and made them ready in the sense of a workman, or a carpenter. It may also possibly have meant one who loads coals, fitting ships with cargoes. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are were by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. The name was taken into England from France in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and Hugh le Fittere who was recorded in County Warwickshire in the year 1195, appears to be the first of the name on record. Adam de Fytte was documented in 1213 in County Lancashire. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. A later instance of the name in England mentions William Fitter and Jane Trott who were married at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in the year 1661, and Samuel, son of Jasper Fitter was baptised at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in the year 1748.
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