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Author: Dr John S Plant (bio)
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A sub-page of the main feudal context page (click Feudal Overlords to return to the main page)

Plant surname - Warren explanation of the medieval distribution, since superseded

Note. This particular webpage was initiated in 2004, particularly in connection with a feudal descent from an illegitimate half-brother of Henry II. It was subsequently updated in connection with this illegitimate Warenne line acting as feudal lords over early Plants. However, since 2015, a far better feudal hypothesis has been ascertained, in connection with a descent mostly from an illegitimate son of Henry II. This is explained more fully elsewhere on this website. That said, the illegitimate descent from Geffrey Plantegenest included both the Warrens of Poynton (E Cheshire) and the Longspee-Audley family (especially in adjoining NE Staffordshire) and both could have contributed a 'vegetal' Angevin tradtition to the culture of main Plant homeland with its Pearl-poetry and the populous Plant surname from where most living Plants descend.

Thirteenth and fourteenth century evidence for the Plant name is rather scattered around England and the Y-DNA evidence indicates that modern Plants belong largely to a single family. It can be contended that the name originated variously around England in late medieval times but then died out in most places either because it had just been a by-name or because some surnamed Plant families had no surviving male heirs. Alternatively, individuals bearing the Plant name may have been mobile, because of their various trades as merchants or drovers or because they were somehow allied to an itinerant nobility.

As one example of the last possibility, the medieval evidence for the Plant name in England can be compared with a largely unsuccessful hypothesis that the Plants were somehow allied to the so-called Warren-Plantagenet affinity. This seems possible to an extent since, for example:-

There is some evidence for earlier similar names, such as Plantepilosa (aka Plantevelue) in medieval France and there is also the place name Plunton (1086) in Lancashire which may have become the same place as Fildepumpton and Wodeplumpton (cf. Note 4b here) by 1323 and 1327 respectively. Plantevelue may have had some formative influence on the name Plantegenest. The place name Plunton could have related somehow to Plonte. In particular, as I have discussed in academic papers [viz. John S Plant (2005) Nomina, 28, pp.115-33; and, (2007) Nomina, 30. pp. 57-84], there is also some reason to suppose that there was a cultural interaction between the formative Plant surname, meaning 'offspring' in the Welsh Marches, and the 'growing shoot' metaphor for the Plante Genest nickname of Geffrey, count of Anjou whose illegitimate offspring included ones called Longspée (details) and Warenne in whose proximity the early Plant surname is found. There are also suggestions of sea travel by the early Plants (e.g. 3 Rouen merhants in 1273) which might have contributed to their widespread medieval distribution (cf. here).

Historical Note: Though proximities to the Warren-Plantagenets is only one aspect of the formative Plant name, it is relatively easy to discuss it because of the wealth of historical information that is readily available about the Plantagenets.

In the 12th century Geoffrey Plante Genest or Plantegenest (now normally referred to as Plantagenet), count of Anjou, founded the Angevin Empire which comprised Aquitaine, Normandy, and England. His sons Henry II, king of England from 1154, and Hamelin played a prominent role in England. Hamelin was an illegitimate half brother of Henry II and he married Isabel de Warrene in 1164 thereby taking over the 'de Warenne' title to the earldom of Surrey - Hamelin's descendants may have retained an interest in Plantagenet-like names. For example Hamelyn's son William (de Warenne) was Lieutenant of Gascony in 1202 when his cousin, king John, captured John's nephew Arthur at Mirebeau and dispossessed an Eimeric de la Planta (also recorded as de Plant') of lands in Chinon and Loudun. In 1225, William married the widowed mother of Roger le Bigod whose 'butler and serjent' was called Roger Plantyn or Planteng' (records in Norfolk 1254-8). There were also Plant-like names nearby.

The medieval distribution of the Plant name can be explained through some form of association with the 'de Warennes'. Early instances of the name Plante (or Plente or Plonte) occur for example near traditional de Warenne lands in Norfolk, Somerset, and Cheshire. For example, by c1280, there is mention of Robert Plonte of Saltford, once bailif of Maresfield: Marshfield is near Saltford which is near the de Warenne manor of Charlton in Somerset though in 1280 this was being held by the line of William Longspée - both Longspée and Warenne were illegitimate descendants of Geffrey Plante Genest. Following Edward I's Welsh campaigns from Chester, the surname Plant was also, in 1301, near the north Welsh borderlands territory of John (Plantagenet) (de Warenne). There is explicit evidence that the Plonte name was hereditary in Somerset by 1329 and in east Cheshire by the later-fourteenth century.

After 4 generations of the so-called Warren-Plantagenet earls of Surrey, a particular family retaining an interest in the ''Plantagenet'' name, by around the end of the 13th century, may have been the descendants of king Edward I's brother, Edmund, who had become 1st earl of Lancaster. There is a suggestion of a connection to land near the Manor of la Planteland in Monmouthshire (south Welsh borderlands) where most of the late 13th century Lancastrians (so-called 'Plantagenets') were born. The 'de Warennes' were disinherited by the Lancastrians from their traditional Norfolk lands after the last 'de Warenne' earl of Surrey died in 1347, after having feuded with the Lancastrians from around 1320. The illegitimate 'Warren' descent settled with the Plonte family in east Cheshire c1370 which became the principal homeland of the Plants.

The illegitimate 'Warren' descent inherited, through marriage, de Stokeport lands at Poynton (east Cheshire) and Woodplumpton in Lancashire. After the last Plantagenet king was killed by the Tudors (1485) it is recorded that there were many substantial families bearing the name of Wareing or Waringe in the manor of Woodplumton. There is evidence that there has been confusions between the Warren and Waring names.

General introduction
This information is brought together in a series of articles in Roots and Branches by John S Plant, starting on related topics in Issue No. 16, such as in Issue No. 19 which discusses the proximity of Plant name origins to the de Warennes.
Early primary source evidence for Plantegenest-like names and Plantin and Planteng'
Plante Genest in the poem Roman de Rou by the Norman poet Wace (1135-74) (ed. Andresen), vol ii, p437, ll 1030002, 10305.
Plantegenest in John of Marmoutiers' Preface (circa 1170-75) to the Gesta Consulum Andegavorum Chroniques des Comtes d'Anjou, p 170.
Roger Plantin, serjent of the earl of Norfolk, Close Rolls in 1252
Roger Plantyn, butler of the earl of Norfolk, Close Rolls in 1258
Roger Plantyn, lands in Norfolk, Patent Rolls in 1258
Galfrido Plauntegenet, serjent at arms, Wodestock, Close Rolls in 1266
Roger Planteng' Guldeford' Norff', Close Rolls in 1268
Some early primary source evidence for Plant-like names
Eimeric de la Planta (aka de Plant') dispossessed of Angevin land in Chinon and Loudun, Normandy Rolls in 1202
Radulphus Plente, responsibility for the burbhote of Oxford in 1219, Pipe Rolls in 1219
William Plente (Kent), Pipe Rolls in 1219
Simon Plente (York), Pipe Rolls in 1230
William Plaunte (Essex), Forest Pleas in 1262
William Plente, land in Norfolk, Norwich Cathedral Charters in 1272-84
William Plauntes (Norfolk), Rotuli Hundrederum in 1275
William Plante (Cambridge), Rotuli Hundrederum in 1275
Robert Plonte, of Saltforde, once bailiff of Marsfelde, Bath Deeds BC 151/4/14 in c1280
Henry de Plantes (Huntingdonshire), Patent Rolls in 1282
Richard Plant, Ewelowe near Chester, Pipe Rolls in 1301
A secondary source claim of a connection between Plantagenet and Plant
The Plant name was 'supposed to be corrupted from Plantagenet' in John Sleigh (1862) [though this was removed from the 1883 edition] A History of the Ancient Parish of Leek, p 33.
DNA investigation of a male-line relationship between Plant and Waring or Warren
The latest results are given on this web site
Some primary source evidence for de Warenne and Warren alias Waryng and a connection to the principal Plant homeland
Hamelinus de Warrena (Lincolnshire), in 1187, Transcripts of Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses (Lincs Rec. Soc. 18, 1922)
William de Warenne (Essex), in 1285, Feet of Fines
John Warren alias Waryng, in 1512, Register of Oxford University (Oxford Hist. Soc. 1, 10-12, 14, 1885-9)
Wareing or Waringe in the manor of Woodplumpton in the reign of Henry VIII, Rolls of 25, 31, 38, Eliz.
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