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Author: Dr John S Plant (bio)
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The Plant Name in England - 1601 to 1850

The data below serves to illustrate a general shift in the Plant distribution between 1600 and 1850. Around 1601-50, most Plants were clustered around adjoining east Cheshire and north Staffordshire. There was also a secondary cluster around Ingoldmells in east Lincolnshire. The proportion of Plants in both Cheshire and Lincolnshire declined however and, by 1801-50, most Plants were to be found in Staffordshire (and nearby counties).

Chart of the Changing Distribution.

Percentages of IGI Plant records in key counties
County 1601-16501651-17001701-1750 1751-1800 1801-1850
Staffordshire ... 25.8% 47.5% 51.1%43.3%51.5%
Cheshire ... 30.1% 9.7% 8.8%6.5%2.7%
Lancashire ... 2.2% 4.9% 6.7%7.1%7.5%
Lincolnshire ... 21.4% 14.3% 11.4%5.8%3.4%

In the 13th century, there are extant records such as for the region around Norfolk and for Oxford whereas, in recent times, the Plant name is found more predominantly in the region around Staffordshire. IGI records for a broad swathe of counties have been used to produce the above table. The region considered covers most of England and the total numbers of Plant IGI records, counted for this region in the 1984 version of the IGI, for the 5 date ranges listed above, are 229, 412, 1233, 2192, and 4196. The above table shows the percentages of these totals found in particular key counties.

The apparent shift between 1601-50 and 1651-1700, either side of the English Civil War, is interesting. At a glance, it appears to suggest some substantial movement from Cheshire across the border to for example Leek parish in Staffordshire, or at least a change of the church of choice. It is important to note that this data cannot be regarded as reliable however: parish records for the main Plant homeland of Leek parish in NE Staffordshire are notoriously missing, especially in early times. The number of Plants in Staffordshire in this data is 59 in 1601-50 and 20 more (say) in Leek parish would increase the Staffordshire percentage from 26% to 35% – this is still lower though than the number of around 50% for subsequent half centuries.

Reference: John S Plant (1998) in Roots and Branches, Issues 16 (pp.13-36) and 17 (pp.22-45).

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