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The Petyt Family

My grandfather Ernest Petyt (1905-1966)

Left - Pictured outside his boot and shoe shop in Alverthorpe Road, Wakefield, c.1925 (Ernest is on the left).
Right - Pictured at Kettlethorpe allotment gardens, Wakefield c.1954. (In the background is the medieval front of Wakefield's Chantry Chapel, which was moved to Kettlethorpe Hall in the 19th century).



Petyt is one of a group of allied names. Dr. Reaney has listed the following, Pettit, Pettitt, Petit, Petyt and Pittit. In Yorkshire there are at least two other variants i.e. Petty and Pettie. The meaning of these appears simple- it is a nickname originally from the French ‘petit’ and although this means ‘short or small’ it is well to remember that some nicknames were bestowed ironically.

The Petyts were spread across all the three Ridings of Yorkshire with groups in Hull, Doncaster and York. The group with which we are mainly concerned had its home by the sixteenth century in Wharfedale in a group of villages close to Bolton Abbey. There is no mention of the family in that area on the 1369 Poll but a rent roll of Bolton Abbey for 1473 lists three families at Hazlewood and Storiths and another three families at Halton. The Dissolution Rent Roll for Bolton Abbey in 1539 shows John and Robert Pettye at Hazlewood and William and Isabel Pettye at Halton. Members of the Petyt family were farming at Bolton Abbey until the 1950s.

In the main the family were engaged in farming and other rural occupations until the Industrial Revolution when they spread into the neighbouring towns such as Leeds and Bradford. Over the centuries a few of them have made their mark in the wider world but generally they were content to remain in their native Yorkshire.

By Anthony Petyt


Short biographies of interesting members of the Petyt family

Bolton Priory Rentals 15th and 16th centuries - Petyt family entries

Petyt Churchwardens at Bolton Abbey - signatures from the 18th and 19th centuries

Probate Inventory of Christopher Petyt of Orton Hall, Westmorland 1702

The Dole Board in Holy Trinity Church, Skipton (local benefactors and charities)



 If you think you may be connected to the Petyt family, please email my uncle,

Tony Petyt


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© Angela Petyt 2001. All rights reserved.

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