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Author: Dr John S Plant (bio)
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The Plant surname - Brief outline of the early UK Distribution

Though the evidence for the Plant name's 13th century origins is fragmentary, it is associated in extant records with for example the general region of around Essex and Norfolk by c1262, having been earlier across the English Channel in Normandy by 1180. The most populous region for the name by the mid 14th century was in the NW Midlands of England where the surviving records do not reveal for how long earlier it had been there:-

early secondary cluster:
across the Wash from Norfolk, around Ingoldmels in east Lincolnshire by 1279; and,
primary cluster:
in SE Cheshire and NE Staffordshire, by 1360.

Subsequently, by around the times of the Industrial Revolution, the secondary Plant cluster in Lincolnshire had diminished. For the primary cluster, it seems that there was a migration from the rural areas of east Cheshire and north Staffordshire, to such nearby industrial centres as Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton (both in Staffordshire), as well as to Manchester (at that time in Lancashire), Birmingham, Sheffield, and London.

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