Recorded as Pittfield, Pitfield and possibly Petford, Pitchford, Pittford, and Pitford, this an English residential surname. It may be topographical and describe a person who lived by an open area covered by pitts (pyt felda) or possibly it may be locational from a place called Pitfield in Staffordshire, or Pitchford as shown below, and meaning the pit by the shallow river crossing. Overall and however spelt the place name originally in pre medieval times have been a reference to a former Roman mining area. The method of extracting the minerals, particularly coal, was by digging a series of bell shaped caverns, which later collapsed into 'pytts'. Pitchford village in Shropshire was an area where bituminous pitch was mined and presumbaly is by a river. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving church registers of the city of London include John Pitford at St James Clerkenwell, on October 14th 1603, John Petford at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on February 25th 1673, and Mary Pitchfeild, christened at St. Martins in the Field, Westminster, on June 24th 1687. 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.