meaning and origins
Probably french and derived from pité meaning pitiful or poor. Another site seems certain the name originates in Normandy
Pettard, Pitard, Pithard, Pitton, Pitter
distribution in England and Wales
In 1891 the Pittards were very definitely centred on Somerset, which is not really that close to France, so maybe not the Huguenot link! Hampshire, which is closer, seems to be the second most dense conglomeration of Pittards.
There is a Mollett family legend that we are descended from Huguenots. So far absolutely no sign of this in the direct Mollett line - all the way back to the sixteenth century. So I sometimes wonder whether this is the Huguenot link.
But this is entirely based on a slightly french sounding name. Indeed I know very very little about the Pittards at this stage - having only the barest of facts about just two generations - the inevitable female - Jane, first wife of Joseph Beckwith, and her father Samuel. I don’t think we even know what Samuel did for a living.
Now in 2020 I am a little more certain that Samuel came from Somerset. There really do not seem to be any Samuels born in London at the right time. Anywhere else for that matter. So I now have a tentative family tree that goes back to the early seventeenth century (and still no Huguenots). But to be honest, I have no real proof of any of it. For the moment though this is the line I am following.