The Name

This page has been composed of material contributed by cousin Guthrie Piggot of Fifield, Oxfordshire in 2003.

“According to the ‘Surnames of Scotland’ by Black, the name Piggot was of Norman origin. The norman french derivation from the diminutive of ‘pic’or point – therefore ‘little point’. The first Picot in this country was one Roger Picot who was appointed by William the Conqueror ( 1066 and all that ) as the first Sheriff of Cambridge in return for his loyalty. The anglo saxon Bishop of Ely called him the ‘roving wolf, a crafty fox, a greedy hog that fears not God’. Roger Picot did however found a nunnery in Cambridge in honour of his wife.

There are numerous spellings of the name. Piggott and Pigot are most prevalent in England. Piggot is more common in Scotland ( and Ireland? ).

Donald Piggotis or Donald Peget had a charter of lands in the Sheriffdoms of Berwickshire and Aberdeen from King David II when he was a captive at the English court for 12 years after the battle of Nevill’s Cross. Donald Piggotis is thought to have been the first of the name in Scotland. There are others as Black notes. Abraham Pyghot was living at Kerrymuire in 1574 (RMR). Abraham Piggot , a notary , was living at St Andrews diocese in 1610 and Gilbert Piggot was a messenger in Edinburgh in 1686 ( RPC 3 ser XII page 233).

In the Register of the Privy Council of Scotland ( 1545 – 1632 ) the name Piggot occurs a number of times. The principal individual named is Abrahame Piggot a notary. The following extracts are a fascinating insight into a world where one suspects that might was right and where legality was just establishing itself as a concept. Some of the names referred to – Ogilvie, Lyons, Glamis – are those of local aristocrats and magnates.

31 July 1595

” Oglivy of Inverarity
In £5,000 by Johnne Ogilvie of Inverquharitie, as principle, and Mr Jame Ogilvie of Clovey as surety for him. Bond presented by Henry Balfoure, advocate and subscribed of Inverquharitie 23rd July, before David Lyndesay of Barneyardis, David Ogilvie, brother of the said Johnne, Mr Alexander Kynnynmonth, miister at Kerimure, Thomas Rae, minister of Aurtoquhay, and Abrahame Piggot, Notary.”

23 July 1606

” Patrik, Earl of Kinghorne, Lord Glammis, for George Foullartoun of Denune, 2000 merks not to harm Andrew Quittoun in Leoch, James Roger there, Samsone Ker in Ochterhous, Ande=rew Watt in Knowheid, William Wat6son in Kirktoun, Thomas Ruthven there, Johne Quittoun in Kirtoun, David Quittoun there, Mrt Johne Douglas in Nevay, David Tyrie there, Johne Stewart there, David Abercumby there, James Oistlar there, Johne Donnaldsone there, or Jonet Herreist there – the band , registered by Mr William Oliphant, Advocate, and written by Abrahame Piggot , notary, is subscribed at Glamis 18th July , Before Johne Lyoun, Johne Murray, Archibald Murray, serviteors to the said noble earl , and said writer herof.”

27 January 1610

” William Chalmers of Drumlochie for Alexander Ogilvie of Achariach, £1000 not to harm Abrahame Piggot, elder, Abraham Piggot,younger, his son, noraries and clerks of the regality of Keremure, Alexander Piggot in Keremure , Margaret Gibsone, relict of Johne Piggot there, Mr Johne Piggot of Fardonie, James Piggot of Drumnachtie,or John Piggot of Keremure.”

The significance of these entries is not yet clear – research is ongoing ( October 2010 )

A payment was made to one Margaret Piggot in Edinburgh in 1719 (Guildry p122).

It is not clear how the name changed from Piggotis to Piggot.

There is a ‘hot spot’ of Piggots in the area around Dundee – Forfar, Brechin. The strong connection with this area is evident in the genealogy described on the Piggot’s page.

Brian Piggot ( Toronto ) has provided an interesting footnote on an Alexander Piggot, a servant of Mrs Lyon of Bridgend, Kingoldrum. He was a soldier of Ogilvy’s Regiment and was recorded as being a prisoner in 1745. Born in 1721 he was a prisoner in Inverness, transported from London to Jamaica on the ‘Carterel’ or the St George on 31 March 1747.

The name Piggot is derived from the Norman French personal name Picot meaning little point Pic-point at the diminutive. The name has many variations Peget, Phygot, Pigott, Pigatt, Pegott, Peggot. The early days of writing were not standardised.

George Fraser Black’s book “Surnames of Scotland” (printed in New York ISBN 0-87104-172-3 and Library of Congress catalog No A47-1716) gives the earliest holder of the name as Roger Picot. He was appointed by William the Conqueror, the Sheriff of Cambridgeshire, he was a ruthless harrier of the remains of the Anglo Saxon resistance and a land grabber. The Abbot of Eley won fame in the annals of medieval history by describing him as “a roving wolf, a crafty fox, a greedy hog and a blasphemous dog that fears not God!”. It is just as well we know from whom we are descended.

Black’s book refers to one Donald Piggotis who was given a Charter of Lands in the Sheriffdoms of Berwick and Aberdeen by King David II of Scotland. This is recorded in the Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum (The Register of the Great Seal of Scotland) v. 1-11 (1306 – 1668) edited by M Thomson and J.B. Paul. I don’t know the exact date of the Charter but by comparison with other charters and grants of land it was given out to the King’s supporters at a time when David was looking to outflank the Earl of Ross and before the Battle of Nevilles Cross. Say 1344 or 1345. TheBattle was a catastrophe for Scotland and would have brought down taxes upon Donald Piggotis since King David was captured and only released upon annual payments of a ransome for ten years equal to the King’s income.

There is a gap of course between Roger Picot and Donald Piggotis and the Piggots came to Scotland in one of the influxes of Southons who occupied the east of Scotland and the lowlands from some 100 years after the Battle of Hastings in you know when.

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