This interesting surname is a metonymic occupational name for a work-man who used an "iron pointed implement". It derives from the Old French "fiche" meaning "an iron point", which itself comes from "ficher" "to fix" or "to plant"; hence, fitch is "an iron pointed implement". The surname dates back to the mid 12th Century (see below), and further recordings include; one William Fich, in the 1240 Assize Court Rolls of Suffolk; William Fitche, in the 1273 Subsidy Rolls of Norfolk; and Roger Fiche, in the 1243 Assize Court Rolls of Somersetshire. Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Fiches, Fytch, and Fitchet. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of Thomas, son of Thomas Fytch, on May 3rd 1579, at St. Andrew's, Undershaft; the christening of James Fitch on May 27th 1589, also at St. Andrew's, Undershaft; and the christening of John, son of Thomas Fiches, on July 31st 1608, at St. Bride's, Fleet Street. Ralph Fitch (1588 - 1606) was one of the first Englishmen who made the overland route to India. One Joseph Fitch, an emigrant to the New World Colonies, sailed aboard the "Defence" bound for New England in July 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Fytch, which was dated circa 1150, in the "Hearth Tax Rolls, the Guild Hall", London, during the reign of King Stephen, known as "Count of Blois", 1135 - 1154. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.