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Some early 'Plant like' name records

Contents:

Plant (including insert on main homeland);
Pallant, – Plenty, and – Other similar names;
— Some wide, brief, historical context.

Initial references: Dr John S. Plant (1999) Roots and Branches, Issues Number 17 and 18, onwards

Notes — Early records of names can be grouped into Pallant, Plenty and Plant surnames with, at least in principle, some possible inter-mixing of the sounds and hence recorded spellings. For example, Palente might have been confused phonologically with Plente though the initial meanings were very different. More particularly, there is often paleographical ambiguity between reversed <e> and <o> so that Plente could be confused with Plonte which is the standard spelling of Plante in the early West Midlands dialect area in particular. Apart from the Macclesfield Court Rolls, the following information is often taken from transcribed records and the original rolls should ideally be re-examined with these possible ambiguities in mind. Also, there could have been some early development of spellings amongst such name forms as Plante, Plantul (meaning young plant as did plante); de la Planta aka de Plant'; de la Plaunt coexisting with Plaunt; Plonte, de Planteiz, de Plantes, and Plant.

Plant

(A few of these and some later records are shown more fully elsewhere on this website).

46AD
Julius Planta in edict of Emperor Claudius for Trento in the Alps (cf 1244 below)
1180
Durand Plante, in the region of Coutances, Manche, Lower Normandy. Exchequer Rolls for Normandy under the English kings.
1189-99
Ranulph Plantul (meaning seedling or young plant, as did plant at that time), juror for the value of Domfront in Orne, Lower Normandy. Reg. Ph. Aug. p. xii. sub. tit. Inquisitions.
1198
Rad de Planteiz, contributed 10 li. towards repayment to king's Treasury of loan by bailiff of Alençon in Orne, Lower Normandy, 20 miles from Le Plantis (cf. Henry de Plantes below in 1282). Normandy Exchequer Rolls ... English kings.
1202
Geffrey Plante Genest's grandson, king John, captured his nephew Arthur of Brittany at Mirebeau in the Anjou-Poitou Marches on 1st August; and, a few weeks later, Emeric de la Planta alias de Plant' was dispossessed of lands there in Chinon and Loud[un] in Loire valley. Normandy Rolls.
1244
Bishop Vokart (of Chur) appointed Andreas Planta von Z(ouz), the Chancellor of Upper Engadine and so confirming the hegemony of the Planta family in the Zouz (Zutz or Suoz) neighbourhood lasting until 1798. Some further details about the Swiss Planta family.
1262
Plaunte William, Essex, Forest Pleas
1271
de Planty Guillame sold his land at Planty, Aube, see page 7 of article [information kindly supplied by Sophie Plantade]
1273
3 Rouen merchants: John and Richard de la Plaunt and Geoffrey Plaunt, Patent Rolls, licences to export wool
1275
June 29th, lease to Thomas Plonte and Helen his wife from David le Blond and wife Annabel of plot of land to build a house, 34 feet by 32 feet, and 6 a. of land at la Fortheye in vil of Bitton [South Gloucestershire] (cf. 1280 entry for Saltford, 2 miles away), Berkeley Castle Muniments, The Blount estate, BCM/E/1/1/49
1275
Plauntes William, West Flegg hundred, Norfolk, Rotuli Hundrederum [details here]
1279
Plante Roger and Robert, Northstow hundred, Cambridge, Rotuli Hundrederum [ibid]
1279
Plante William, Northstow hundred, Cambridge, Rotuli Hundrederum [ibid]
1279
At Burgh in Lincolnshire, 'assize of mort dancestor arraigned by Alan son of Hugh Plante against John son of John Plante, touching land in.' Newly transcribed Patent Rolls
c1280-1303
Robert Plonte, of Saltford, once bailif of Marsfelde [Bath BC 151/4/14, 151/4/15]
1282
de Plantes Henry, Patent Rolls, an appeal which Alice, late wife of Henry Hare brings in the county of Huntingdon against John le Mareschal of Witeseye (Wittlesey) and 78 others including Henry de Plantes for the death of her husband
1301
Plant Richard, rights to coal, Ewelowe near Chester, Flint [Pipe Rolls Cheshire in LCRS 92, 205]
1303
Johannes Plonte [S.L.Thrupp and H.B.Johnson (1964) The earliest Canterbury freeman's rolls 1298-1363 in Kent Records (Ashford, 1912-) Kent Archaeological Society 18 181]
1309
John Plaunte in Subsidy Rolls (Riseley, Bedfordshire) [PMcC: cf '1360 onwards', point ▪5 below]
1312
Sarah wife of John Plonte of Canterbury, sale of 4s of annual rent, Canterbury Cathedral Archives U/4/1/80
1315
April 29th, John Plonte, witness to transfer of messuage and buildings in Canterbury, Canterbury Cathedral Archives, CCA-Dcc-ChAnt/C/1080
1321, 1323
Luke Plonte of Nettlebed, Oxfordshire, Patent Rolls, complaint by abbot Reweley by Oxford (Rewley Abbey with lands including two parks at Highmore in Nettlebed) against Luke and many others that they 'broke and burnt his houses at Nettlebed and Bensiton, co Oxford, felled his trees and carried away his trees and other goods'
1327
Simon Plonte in Subsidy Rolls (Theydon Bois, Essex) [PMcC]
1327
William Plante in Subsidy Rolls (Hursley, Hants) [PMcC]
1328
Thomas Plonte and Robert his son [Bath BC 151/3/55]
1329
Robert Plonte son of Walter Plonte [Bath BC 151/2/46, 151/2/47]
1332
Nicholas Plaunte in Subsidy Rolls (Coombe Keynes, Dorset) [PMcC]
1332
Walter Plant in Subsidy Rolls (Hougham, Lincs) [PMcC]
1334
Alan Plante, Feet of Fines (Burgh le Marsh, Gunby, and Orby, Lincs) [PMcC]
1340
Robert son of Thomas Plonte [Bath BC 151/3/56]
1340-49
Robert Plonte [Bath BC 151/2/27, 151/2/28, 151/2/48, 151/2/25, 151/6/70, 151/5/90]
1344
Plant John, son of Alan, of Burgh Marsh co. Lincoln, Patent Rolls
1349
mention of tenement of John Plonte [Bath BC 151/2/42]
1350
cottage of William Plante. Deed dated 2 Oct 1350 at Haughley in Suffolk
1350
Henry Plante of Risole, priest of the diocese of London. Clergy, the religious and the faithful in Britain and Ireland
1352
Plant James, and others carried away goods at Welles, Warham and Styvekey co. Norfolk, Patent Rolls
1358
de Planty Geoffrey and (around the same time) Felix, priest of St Liébaud (Estissac), 10 miles east of Planty, Aube, see page 7 of article [information kindly supplied by Sophie Plantade]
c1360
mention of land of Walter Plonte [Bath BC 151/2/38]
1360 onwards:
Continue through items ▪1) to ▪6) concerning early surviving records for the surname's most populous homeland;
or
skip to continuing dates of early Plant records; or return to earlier ones; or to top of page.
Leek-Macclesfield Plant homeland  — its earliest known records, with some clues for the name's meaning at ▪5) and ▪6):

Including insights [1309, 1327, 1332, 1334, and especially ▪5 below] from Prof Peter McClure [PMcC, Nov 2021] co-editor (with Hanks, Coates) of the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names of Britain and Ireland [further to my comment on Plant relating to the first edition of the Dictionary here].
Methodology: 'George [Redmonds] realised that Reaney's explanations [of surname meanings] relied too often on medieval data that bore no relation to where the modern surnames had developed. He concluded that surname distribution was the key to understanding all English surnames..' [Peter McClure, 'Obituary: Redmonds', Nomina, vol 40 (2019-21) pp.131-142, page 132]. My added provisos for Plant are: (i) male-line y-dna data have been important in understanding early migrations to produce the widespread modern distribution of the unusually populous, largest genetic male-line Plant family; and, (ii) the late medieval usage of the local dialect word 'plant' [spelled here plont] was often substantially different from now as outlined in point ▪6) below.

Further details relative to points ▪2) to ▪6) below are given in my document here, Context of some early surviving records in the main Plant homeland.
  Contents: page 1 Stoney Cliffe to Lyme Green; 4 Richard Plant's base at Stoney Cliffe; 5 Dieulacres land at Lymgrene near Salton Lime Ends; 7 Salton Lime Ends and Saltways; 10 Macclesfield locations and Dieulacres property; 11 Some context of Plants in their homeland; 12 Plants at the county boundary crossing; 16 Historical context of the crossing at Gradbach; 18 South from Gradbach to early NE Staffordshire Plants; 25 Plants around the Leek parish part of their homeland; 29 Thomas, Hugh and Christopher Plant, 1530s to 1560s ...and the name Laurence Plant through the Dissolution ...and others; 33 Around Stoney Cliffe in earlier times; 35 Some locations to the north of the main Plant homeland; 36 Some relatively light reading ...and deeper, truer meaning; 40 Meaning of Plant name here and also earlier; 43 Herbs and deadly salt, planted paradise and clean rose; 46 Focussing on the contemporary literature; 49 Summary of homeland evidence for the Plant name meaning; 51 A modified assessment taking account of earlier records elsewhere.

▪1) The records: This main homeland evidently gives rise to a majority of the living Plants [as judged by the y-dna and distribution data, summarised here]. Disregarding how the Plant name might have arrived here, the earliest surviving Plant records in this homeland are mostly in the Macclesfield Court Rolls [some found recently and photographedJSP note: the initially transcribed Rand etc are in fact Ran'o 'from Ranulph' etc]. Most of these are for fees relating to animals; briefly, these mention three different Macclesfield area Plants in the early 1360s; and, as the number of such lists of fees increase, there are six different forenames with the Plant name in a total of 35 mentions dated 1369 to 1380 (outlined further in dated item '1360-1 etc' below). The earliest deduced location (1363) involves the trespass of a bullock from Staffordshire over the county border into Macclesfield Hundred, near the Black Prince's Midgley vaccary (Cheshire), its having crossed the river Dane boundary [seemingly at or near a ford called Quarnford]. Despite the greater number of early records in the Macclesfield courts (east Cheshire) the offending bullock's owner, Thomas Plont, could have been from Leek parish (adjoining in NE Staffordshire), where the records are sparser. There are some early known Leek records for the Plant name (in 1363-76, 1381-2, 1395 listed below) with a number of Plants holding permissions from the abbot of Dieulacres [eg. sourced here] for which the earliest is for an Edward Plont (1406 below) to whom the abbot grants a 39 year lease for two mess' with one croft of old called le Calwo-heye de Roche-graunge – this is a mile or so south of the trespassing bullock aforesaid, at the Midgley vaccary, belonging to Thomas Plant. The 1381-2 records suggest that this Thomas was a retainer of the abbey with the abbot as well as Thomas having been charged in an extended associated court case. This abbey also held detached lands as far west as Chester (cf. Richard Plant in 1301 record above) and as far north as Macclesfield town and beyond [cf. ▪3 and ▪4 below].

▪2) Trespass across the river Dane: From the earliest known records, the name Thomas Plont applies to a sequence of records in the Maclesfield Court Rolls, dated 1363 to 1376, evidently all applicable to a case of Thomas pasturing a 2 year old bullock north across the county boundary into Macclesfield forest and then taking it back into Leek parish to avoid its distraint; he had failed to pay the stray fine (1363-76 records below) and this attracted a large fine (20s) at the Justiciar's annual eyre court of Macclesfield hundred (1365-6) [cf. ⇾ Note 2a below]. Later, a King's pardon for Thomas Plont was issued at Stafford on 5 May 1382 (1381-2 record below). Seemingly also near Midgley, two apparent sons of Thomas, called John and Richard Plont, and six others were sued for trespassing with cattle (1397 below) [cf. ⇾ Note 2b]; and, just a little further north into Cheshire, a record dated 25 Oct 1400 states, 'John son of Thomas Plant has a ? in the township of Sutton worth 12s reported as stolen by [a nearby resident] of Bosley' [TNA SC255/4] [cf. ⇾ Note 2c].

For fuller details of the local geography and historical context, including Notes 2a to 2c, see pp.16-18 of my documented notes here:
  ⇾ Note 2a) a local contemporary epic romance;
  ⇾ Note 2b) imperfect justice;
  ⇾ Note 2c) local conflict and enforced abdication.
For example, the king's favourite – Peter Legh of the item dated 1397 below – was beheaded by the Duke of Lancaster at Chester in 1399. The Dieulacres Chronicle records that, whereas the king's favourites, the so-called Cheshire Guard, wore the royal badge of the white hart resplendent, there was much talk among the common people of the extortions practised by them and, because of this, the king [Richard II] was held in fatal odium though by no fault of his own. [Chris Given-Wilson, Chronicles of The Revolution, 1397-1400, p.154]


▪3) Plonte name in Cheshire: Around 13 miles north from the Midgley vaccary near the county border, at Lyme (Handley) to the east of Poynton, Hond Plont was paying pannage in 1369, 1377 and 1379 for grazing pigs in Purse Wood [Lyme, east of Poynton]; most locals owned a few pigs. Rainow, around 3 miles to its south, was a large township in the Chapelry of Macclesfield which was a part of the large parish of Prestbury which in turn was a large part of the Macclesfield Hundred of east Cheshire; Ranulph Plont is found in Rainow by 1383, though he is not listed there earlier in 1351. Tonkinson's book [p.263] has categorised Ranulph as an average landholder with some sheep, draught beasts including oxen or bullocks, horses, and pigs, whilst he is more notable for over 20 appearances at the Halmote court, placing him in the top 4.8% of male appearances [though Tonkinson includes a designation wf for his wife and family without explaining this in any detail]; 'his' appearances also exceeded those of any female [Tonkinson p.65]. One such appearance is on 3 Oct 1401, at which Roger Togod and Richard Plont appear as guarantors for John Togod and Nicholas le Gardiner when they take up the lease of the farm of deadwood in the forest of Macclesfield; and, at that same time, Ranulf Plont is guarantor for Nicholas le Gardiner who takes up the farm of coal found in the forest of Macclesfield [SC 255/5]. In the above referenced estimates by Tonkinson, Nicholas le Gardener was in the top 12% of the Macclesfield forest landholders. Subsequently, Ranulph's son John Plant senior evidently had sons William and John junior and it is likely the latter who appears as John Plant jnr in a 1445 list of 98 Knights, Gentlemen and Freehoders in Macclesfield hundred [Earwaker, Vol I p.17]. [Reference: J P Earwaker, East Cheshire: Past and Present (London, 1877) Vols I and II]

The following map outlines the Plant locations of Stoney Cliffe [near Dieulacres abbey in Leek, Staffordshire] and Lyme Green [south of Macclesfield town] near Gawsworth [cf. ⇾ Note 3a below] as well as the county boundary crossing at Quarnford near Midgley [cf. ▪2 above]. The geography and charter evidence is described in greater detail in my document here.

  ⇾ Note 3a) Stonycliff and Lymgrene: In 1437 (dated record below), Richard Plant of Stonycliff [S at bottom right of map below] was granted permission by the Abbot of Dieulacres to enclose about Lymgrene as much common as to the abbey pertains, to be added to Richard's land called Saltersclough there. The location of Stonycliff was near an estimated boundary of core Dieulacres lands with Audley lands, in Leek or Alstonefield parish just 3 miles NE from the Dieulacres abbey ruins; it evidently remained occupied by Plants quite persistently later [1437, also wills of 1567 and 1670-1713 here]. The location of Lymgrene is rather less straightforward but was evidently a detached piece of Dieulacres land a mile or so south of Macclesfield town [L near top left of map] as is consistent with Dieulacres Charter 114 which was witnessed by two brothers of Gawsworth [G in map] for example. This then links the Leek Plants (NE Stafordshire) with the Macclesfield area Plants (SE Cheshire) at this fairly early date, with routes between the two passing above and/or beneath the Roaches from a crossing of the river Dane county boundary at or near Quarnford [Q near mid right of map]. [Placename references: David Horovitz, PhD Thesis 2003, Uni Nottingham, 'A Survey and Analysis of the Place-Names of Staffordshire', pp.432-3; also, J McN Dodgson The Place Names of Cheshire (Cambridge University Press), Part I (vol xliv, 1970); Part V(I:i) (vol xlviii, 1981) kindly supplied by Helen Burton of Keele University]

1840 Ordinance Survey Map (railways as at 1879) roughly 9.8 miles high by 12.5 miles wide.
Stony Cliff to Lyme Green
S Stony Cliff; Q Quarnford with the Midgley vaccary somewhat to the west; L Lymgrene; G Gawsworth.

  ⇾ Note 3b) Stonycliff and Sheen: The above interpretation of the 21 Dec 1437 licence (listed below) from Dieulacres abbey to Richard Plant of Stonycliffe is based on the place-names Lyme Green (1979) and Salton Lime Ends (1840) with ample surviving evidence for Plants similarly near to Macclesfield town by the 1380s. A less well evidenced interpretation of this licence could involve the saltway east from Stoney Cliffe to near Sheen (6 miles) where there was a Plant family by 1532 and where Dieulacres held land [Valor Eclesiasticus, 1534] at Longnor at the northern end (3 miles) of Sheen parish. Plants were further spread by 1532-3 before the abbey Dissolution in 1538, though without known surviving evidence to the east of Sheen into Derbyshire until Christopher Plant (1538) as a tythe collector 12 miles ENE from Sheen in Bakewell (at the Old House, currently a museum) and a 1545 will for a Hugh Plant of Wirksworth about 12 miles south of Bakewell.

▪4) Occupations: The Plants trespassing at the river Dane county boundary (▪2 above) involved cattle and hence regarded as 'cattle farmers' whereas, eight or so miles to the north in Cheshire, in the region of Rainow (▪3 above), Ranulph Plont was evidently self sufficient with various livestock and his activities included that of being a guarantor in the local court. Not very long after, an offspring evidently achieved moderately high status in so far as John Plant junior is listed in 1445 as one of 98 worthies of Macclesfield Hundred.

  ▪ Some indirectly associated occupations: The Plant name has been said to mean a gardener; this is not evident in local Halmote court records though, on 1 March 1400, [SC2 255/3] Nicholas le Gardiner and Ranulph Plont were guarantors for William and John Plont [property transfer]; and, on 3 Oct 1401, [255/5] Richard Plont is guarantor for John Togard and Nicholas le Gardiner [farm of deadwood] and Ranulph Plont is guarantor for Nichoals le Gardiner [farm of coal], Gardiner was a major landholder [mentioned in ▪3 above]. This is one of several indirect associations with other occupations, such as in a 1381-2 record of charges against the abbot of Dieulacres and his retainers for a 1379 beheading, with Thomas Plonte charged (1381) with abetting this along with John le Sumpter though Thomas received a king's pardon (1382) along with Thomas Page; the latter is mentioned again alongside the Plant name in a 1395 land conveyance, when John Plonte was witness to the transfer of 2½ acres of Leek land to Thomas Page. A page was a youth attendant, often to someone of quite high status; a sumpter was a pack animal such as a mule, or a small horse of unspecified breed. The 1437 licence from the Dieulacres abbot for Richard Plant of Stonycliffe to enclose land at Lyme Green (near Salton Lime Ends) near Saltersclough seemingly related to base stations at Stonycliffe and Salton Lime Ends on saltways, which were set to a climb up to high moorlands at both Stoney Cliffe (near core lands of Dieulacres abbey near Leek) and at the green of Salton Lime Ends [charter from the abbot for Lyme Green, which is near Macclesfield]; it could have been appropriate here to transfer from draft cattle or oxen for example to more agile packhorses. Dieulacres held rights to salt works (Salinae) at both Middlewich and Nantwich, free of tolls and suit. The charter for Macclesfield has not survived but all burgesses of Leek had rights including freedom of all tolls in Cheshire, but for that on salt. The aforesaid supposed staging posts on saltways likely occurred at Rainow as well as Stoney Cliffe and near Salton Lime Ends, as outlined further in my document here, though an involvement of the Plonte name was not necessarily with salt. In Cheshire dialect [Joseph Wright's EDD 1898] plant meant the scum that rises to the surface of vinegar, which might be considered as similar to seeded salt crystals raked off the surface of brine as it was heated in lead pans at medieval Salinae [salt springs]. The local dialect meaning of plant relates more directly however to the thin white layer of scum that can form on the surface of wine [fermented once] as well as on vinegar in a second fermentation.

  ▪ Activity at courts: One might ponder tenuously instead an isolated mention of the name Plaint (sic) when John Plaint, aged 60 or more, acted as first witness for the proof of age of a son of John of Gaunt's mistress Catherine Swynford (1394 record listed below) with John Plaint stating that he had been servant to Master Thomas de Sutton. This might have related to a developing sense of a 'plaint' or 'plaintif' [as in medieval 'fictitious lawsuits' for land conveyance etc]. However, this was distant at Lincoln and the spelling Plaint is not evidenced clearly as having related to the Plant name. More directly, the earliest hints of any such legal activity locally begin with Ranulph and William Plont paying fees for grazing animals in 1360-1 and, for example, Ralph Plont appearing repeatedly for fees payable to the Macclesfield court, such as in 1370-1 for Escapura [stray animals] and also 3 times for Herbage [grazing]; as well as 5 times for Escapura in 1373-4 including paying a fee 'from John de Paynlesley [probably of Sutton with horses, pigs and several draught animals, Tonkinson p.263] by pledge of Ralph Plont and Thomas del Cloghes' [the latter is of Sutton, Tonkinson p.247]. As already mentioned, John Plonte was a witness to a property conveyance in Leek parish in 1395 and this continues in the Macclesfield courts such as, in 1432, when John Plont was attorney of Ralph Odam snr when he surrendered his lands in Rainow to Queen Catherine who regranted them [a procedure for re-registering land]. Also in 1437, John Plant snr and John Plant jnr gave oaths with ten others on 11 June 1437 in an Inquisition Post Mortem at the Ecclesiastic court of Prestbury, this was for John de Downes [came of age 1409, died 1421] concerning his fee of the manor of Tackleshole and the advowson of the church there [Earwaker, Vol II]. Such legal activity, possibly with enhanced status from the profitable conveyance of salt or wine, might help explain John Plant junior's mention in a 1445 list of 98 worthies of Macclesfield Hundred [Earwaker, Vol I p.17].

The advowson of Tackleshole might be compared with Tockholes, 40 miles to the north in Lancashire, though the old chapel there has been supposed not to have been built until late in the 15th century. For some further details, including Notes 4a) and 4b), see pp.35-36 of my document here:
  ⇾ Note 4a) Sutton Downes and Tockoles;
  ⇾ Note 4b) Poynton and Preston and Newcastle under Lyme.

▪5) Compound names and associated meanings:

For the supposed 'gardener' meaning, reference has been made to Planterose and Plantebene...
  • ▪Planterose, PMcC: Planterose 'plant rose' in Arras shows that Morlet's contention of the modern French surname being from a hypothetical *Plantereus 'fertile' is almost certainly incorrect. The Middle English surname may be a borrowing of the French one and one cannot not rule out the possibility that English bearers of the name inherited it from French forebears perhaps from Artois or Normandy; also, John Plaunte, 1309, is almost certainly identical with John Planterose, 1332, both taxed at Riseley in Subsidy Rolls (Bedfordshire);
  • ▪Plantebene, PMcC: probably meant 'plant bean' but Anglo-Norman plante bene 'plant well' is an alternative possible etymology: cf Planteféve 'plant bean' or Anglo-Norman French plante b(i)en(e) 'plante well'. [See also ▪6(ii) below]
For the medieval 'seedling, shoot, offshoot, offspring' meaning, though often neglected, there are other compound names:
  • ▪Plantapeluda, William, meaning 'hairy shoot', witness of Charter for land near Lodres Priory, Dorset, archived at its motherhouse Montebourg Abbey in Coutances [Calendar of Documents Preserved in France 918-1206] 1188-99 (ca.1180); cf. Plante, Durand 1180 also Coutances, and ▪Plantul, Ranulph with meaning 'seedling', 1189-99 Orne, Normandy;
  • ▪Plantegenest 'sprig, broom shoot' see here; also ▪Plauntegenet, Galfrido at Oxford in 1266 [Close Rolls]; some associated concepts are given here [also here].
All of the names Planterose, Plantebene, Plantapeluda, Plauntegenet are attested early for southern England, though not confirmed locally for the main Plant homeland [leaving aside the illegitimate descent lines from Geffrey Plantegenest of the Plant homeland Warrens and Longspée-Audleys].


▪6) Accumulated evidence for the Plant name's meaning: The Plant surname has been ascribed a different meaning almost each time an authority has considered it; it has even been described as a corruption of the royal name Plantagenet (Mark Lower, 1860, A Dictionary of Surnames). My accumulated evidence over three decades consolidates two of the published meanings in particular: (i) a young offspring (Ernest Weekly, 1916, Surnames); and (ii) a planter of various plants (P H Reaney, 1958, A Dictionary of British Surnames). The earliest known evidence for (i) is in Latin (397AD) and it appears as sons in the Latin Vulgate Bible (405AD), which was still current at the times of surname formation, and there is also in Middle English a reference to the foetus of king Alfred's granddaughter growing in her mother as a pure and perfect plant. The main evidence for (ii) is that John Plaunte (1309) is almost certainly identical with John Planterose (1332) both in the Subsidy Rolls for Riseley [PMcC]. I can add for example that the landholder, serjent and butler to the earl of Norfolk was called Roger Plantyn or Plantin (1254, 1258), which along with the related names Plantain as Planta[u]in and Plantig' as Plant[u]ig[n] can be taken as corruptions of the French names Plantavin and Plantevigne for a vine planter with Planterose (1332) occurring amongst them (cf. rose as an attested colour of wine, Anglo Norman c.1300).

Known occupations for early Plants (explicitly stated, or as implied in brackets) are various, such as:
(fighting duels) 1180; (dispossed of French land) 1202; Chancellor 1244; merchant at Rouen 1273; bailiff c.1280; priest 1350; priest 1358; chaplain 1370; (at draperie) 1376; gardener 1377; agricole 1381; chaplain 1386; (archers in France) 1415-41; (bought a hostel in France) 1441; prebendary and seneschal to the Archbishop Primate of Ireland c.1479-84; a priest and supplier of wine in Gascony 1512-15.
Thus there is for example a number of religious occupations which might be considered to relate to (i) the early biblical sense sons, hence brethren of the church, though it could instead reflect (ii) the supply of religious wine for blessings and the eucharist, with some monasteries and abbeys taking vineyards to a commercial level. This occupational diversity can be taken more generally to relate to vines and wine with, for example, the responsibilities of Sir John Plant (c.1479-84) including the supply of wine to the Archbishop’s cellar; also, an activity of Richard Plante (1441) was likely as a hostler and tapster; and, the activities of the agricole Johannes Plante (1381) could have included planting vines. That said, such activities seem to have developed to include other plants, as in the case of the gardener Willelmo Plant (1377) and Platerose [Anglo Norman ros1 c.1136-37] might mean a reed planter.


  ▪6(i) An early, widespread, and lasting sense: sons, heir, young offspring

The Latin Vulgate bible was of the highest importance throughout western Europe and still remained so during the times of surname formation. For example there is also a sense in the Oxford English Dictionary that might be considered for the name in the hills of the Plants' main Leek-Macclesfield homeland:
[OED v 2b] 'Leading thou plant them high in the hills...' Old English Psalter, also appears in both the Latin Vulgate and later medieval Middle English Wycliffe Bibles.
However, there are a further five similar biblical usages without hills, weakening any association with the high ground of this main homeland; for details see here [also, for further details about the local contemporary literature, see here]

More convincingly, there is a well supported sense 'sons, heir(s)' from early times, not forgotten by the seventeenth century in the homeland.
St Augustine, 397AD, '(the meaning of the Greek) is to be plantings and seedlings' [Latin: esse plantationes et vitulamina] hence, 'The plantings of adulterers will not give deep roots'. Also, St Jerome's Vulgate bible was completed from Hebrew by 405AD and included the phrase 'sons as new plantings [Latin: plantationes] in their youth'; it also included that Jacob 'supplanted' his brother in the womb [see here].
In the 12th-century history of Marmoutier abbey [along with the earliest evidence for the Plantegenest name], their founder St Martin is stated as the 'highest shoot of gentile blood'; see here. In the figure of St Martin, there is a sense of plante as a (human) shoot in the founding of an abbey whose brethren might hence be regarded as abbey offshoots who, in another Dictionary sense, could have been regarded as 'planted' (sic) well enough with God's 'craft' [OED plant v 3a].

Similarly, there is a reference to a princess and founding abbess, St Werburgh, in which the word plante refers to her as a foetus growing in her mother, who was king Alfred's eldest daughter, as a 'pure perfyte plante, Which dayly encreased by sufferaunce devynne' [monk of the Benedictine abbey church at Chester, ca.1513, here p.127]; this tallies with king Alfred's earlier translation of 'planted craft' [here]. The remains of St Werburgh had been moved to Chester by 958AD and were venerated at the abbey church [1093, later Chester Cathedral]; the Werburgh cult was strong in and around Chester in the 12th and 13th centuries – this was near the lands of Poulton abbey which had reached the outskirts of Chester and its lands there were retained when, in 1214, Poulton was refounded as Dieulacres abbey in Leek [that abbey's name meaning 'God increase it', an instance of God's planted craft; cf. 1 Corinthians 3:6, I planted, Apollo watered: but God gave increasing; also here]. The aforesaid 'foetus' of St Werburgh as a meaning of plante serves as an ontological metaphor of human life [cf. shoot, offshoot, offspring]. In this vein there is a more general medieval sense of plant [especially in medieval Latin] 'seedling, shoot, sprig' [see also here and here] and also the obsolete English Dictionary sense [OED plant sb1 1b] 'a thing planted or shooting up, a young person'.

As a connection to this, in the main Plant homeland by the later half of the 14th century, there is the so-called Gawain or Pearl poet, referring to [in Cleanness 1006-7] 'God's planted paradise', including His privately taught 'kynde-craft' of generative pleasure [in Cleanness 697-708]. This ties in with the nearby modern Welsh meaning 'children' of plant, as offspring from 'planted kynde-craft' [MED, kinde 13(a) progeny, descendants; an offspring], with Welsh planta meaning to (pro)create (on behalf of God).

As another development from 'planted craft', in the main Plant homeland, there is an inscription in old letters incorporated over a small doorway in Wincle Chapel (a.1647): 'Here Doe O Lord Sure Plant Thy Word' [see here; also here]. This fits with other Dictionary attested developments: [OED plant v 3a and 3b] 'planted craft' by ca.880-950, 'planted virtues' by 1340, 'planted contrition' by 1415, 'planted temperance' ca.1450, and [3b] a man tasked to 'plant Christ's faith' by 1529.

In Cheshire, with links elsewhere, there remained the sense of 'sons as new plantings' [Latin 397AD; cf. MED planted kynde-craft, an offspring] for plant as a (Grand)son and Heir, still by 1621, in reference to a grand-child of Sir John Savage:
'His Grandchild, then a young Plant and newly sent to the Innes of Court, to be trained up answerably to his Birth and Dignity ... That hopeful Plant, that is the apparent Heir Of all his glory, and this great Discent ... That Savages may still be excellent'. [details: JSP (2005), Nomina 28, 115-133]
The Savage family were lords of the manor of Frodsham in Cheshire. John Savage (c.1603-1654) was the 2nd Earl Rivers (2nd creation) by 1632, also Viscount Colchester (1621), Viscount Savage (1628), Baron Darcy of Chiche (1613), Baronets of Rocksavage (1611).

The meaning 'young offspring', given by Ernest Weekly (1916) in Surnames, based on the contemporary version of the Oxford English Dictionary [then New and termed NED], corresponds with these earlier senses 'sons, heir'.


  ▪6(ii) Another early, widespread sense, with local associations: especially vine planter and grape crusher, Plantevign and Plantavin; possibly stored wine turned rose, Plantrose; Plant name associated with early wine trade migrations cf. medium plantum agreement for a new vineyard in Gascony between landowner and tenant plantador; also, supplier of vinegar from a second fermentation, plant debris from fermentations.

This is an abridged version of sections 6-11 here.

As an alternative to 'sons, heir, young offspring', Percy Hide Reaney (1958) in A Dictionary of British Surnames gives the meaning 'a planter of various plants', 'Planterose = rose grower'. By including 'vine grower', this ties together much of the earliest evidence, on both sides and across the English Channel (La Manche), including for both of the two name forms Plaunt and de la Plaunt – the latter can refer to a 'route to', or a person 'originating from' a plantation especially a vineyard – these two name forms are recorded for three merchants of Rouen in Normandy with licences to export wool from England in 1273. Wool was the main export from England with, in return, French wine the main import into England. The formative Plant name developed in the context of the substantial medieval wine trade, which is based on the planted vine, and this can explain much, as I outline here.

The earliest attested senses for the word plant(e) are:
[n1 1a]:   shoot, graft, plant, young tree;    [n2]:   sole of foot (c.1150 Old French, 1213 Anglo Norman, a.1382 OED);
Taking plant as referring to both a vine plant (or graft) and the sole of the foot, these two distinct meanings are doubly applicable to a vine grower and grape trampler [metonymy of action and also synecdoche of foot]. Grape crushing was typically by sole of foot with perhaps a wine-press for extracting more juice; though, even in the Bordelais, there is some evidence that winepresses were not commonly used until ca.1590; they were expensive for a small-scale vine grower both to make and maintain [TWTME p.35].
TWTME: Susan Rose, The Wine Trade in Medieval Europe 1000-1500, (Bloomsbury Academic, 2011); also, MWT: Margery Kirkbride James, Studies in the Medieval Wine Trade (Clarendon, Oxford, 1971)

6(ii)-A- The medieval wine trade and name migration

English involvement in the wine trade from France dates through the times of the earliest known records for the Plant name. By 1154 when Henry II became king of England, having married Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152, the administration of her Aquitaine duchy of SW France was in the hands of the English crown. Even before their youngest son king John had lost the vineyards of Normandy and those in the Loire valley, he favoured wines from the Aquitaine (also called Gascony) further south, shipped from Bordeaux, purchasing that wine for his own table from the first years of the thirteenth century. John's son Henry III (b 1216, reigned 1227-72) granted Bordeaux a Charter in 1235, from when the trade in wine between Bordeaux and English ports began to increase notably. After 1255, Henry's son the future Edward I, introduced the Grand Coutume de Vins on all wines passing through Bordeaux. [TWTME pp.44-45] Under him, wine merchants from Gascony enjoyed marked favours of the crown, such as in a charter of 1302 whereby they no longer had to reside with an English host when in England and could sell wine wholesale at will – these rights continued through the first half of the fourteenth century before they were eroded by London merchants.[TWTME p.56]

The following dated early occurrences of the Plant name are consistent with a migration of the Plante name from France, evidently influenced by the wine trade such that the name reached its early locations around the coast of England; and then, by 1360, it appeared inland in the name's most populous early location around its Leek-Macclesfield main homeland. This evident migratory linkage in the early records for the Plant name includes the following name instances. At Planty in Aube, William de Planty in the Champagne region (1271) with a route via the river Seine and its tributaries, controlled at Rouen on the Seine in east Normandy (Plaunt and de la Plaunt names in 1273) and then across the Channel to east and south east England with for example Alan and John Plante at Burgh in SE Lincolnshire (1279) and a Freeman and his family at Canterbury in Kent (name spelled Plaunte in 1303 and Plonte in 1315) evidently in connection with the Cathedral's several vineyards. Also, from Coutances in the Cotentin peninsular of western Normandy (Plante in 1180) evidently migrated across to the south coast of England (Plante 1327 in Hampshire, Plant 1332 in Dorset); also, from the Loire valley (1202 de la Planta, de Plant') via the western coast of France to the Bristol Avon (Plonte name occurrences 1275-1360) and then onwards up the river Severn and its tributaries (1379, 1401); and, also, from Gascony in SW France not only to Bristol but also to Chester (1301 Plant) from where there is known evidence of the onward trade of imported wine (1395) to the main Leek-Macclesfield Plant homeland (first known there in 1360 Plonte).

The reasons for the high frequency of the Plant name in its most populous homeland could have included: (1) travel up the river Seven and its tributaries from Bristol; (2) the rediscovery of the ancient treatise De Plantis associated with Lichfield Cathedral and, in its diocese, an association of the naming of Dieulacres abbey in the Plant homeland echoing that text's crementum power of plant growth; (3) several Plants needed to transport must (grape juice) and marc (plant debris) and wine and vinegar, especially in small quatities over difficult terrain in the homeland; and (4) several distinct genetic male-line Plant families in this region with one, our so-called Main Plant Family, having grown unusually large, partly explicable as due to statistical random chance [publications here].

For (1) and (2) we can note the following. The journey up the river Severn and its tributaries from the Severn estuary (marked S in the Bristol Channel, the inlet eastwards from the bottom left of the left map below) as far as Lichfield, which is in the main concentration of the Plant name by 1881 (shown as area of red and black in the same map). This journey in the left hand map appears very differently in the right hand map, where it is shown as just from top left (S) to top right (liche-feld). The right hand map is a distorted portrayal dated 1250 by the chronicler Matthew Paris and, in contrast to its top left to top right, a journey of similar length in crows flight down an extension of the Bristol Avon to the south coast of England is shown as almost fully from top to bottom in the distorted map The latter journey in the right map is shown with sections of blue and brown (when colour restored) and it is apparently shaded thus to represent travel over both water and land. This relatively large (distorted) length tallies with a less easy route than up the Severn for heavy goods, such as imported wine in return for large quantities of wool, with wool developing into other merchandise. The sea route from western France to Bristol (via bottom left side of left map) and then onwards via the Severn (top left to top right of right map) held an advantage over more difficult overland travel for heavy barrels of wine. That said, after England's loss of northern France, piracy and war could make a journey along the English Channel hazardous, such as in 1339 when wine for London was brought overland from Bistol at great cost (route directly east, to the right from S, in the left map) [MWT p.143]. Another wine route was by sea from Gascony (from the far south below bottom left of the left map) and up the Irish Sea and west along the north coast of Wales to Chester (marked C in the left map). The was before the river Dee into Chester silted up, when Chester was a port of prime importance, though it was later superseded by nearby Liverpool, a little to its north.

Distribution of Plant name in Britain in 1881 and part of the distorted Matthew Paris map of 1250
1881 Census Distribution
and distorted SW section of 1250 map
S = Severn Estuary in the Bristol Channel in both maps; and C = Chester in left map


From Chester, William French and others obtained wine, selling it at Macclesfield in the main Plant homeland in 1395 at 6d, instead of 8d per gallon, said to be 'to the great harm of the neighbourhood and community' [a widespread restriction on the price of wine for 'Christian and moral reasons', TWTME p.53]. Presumably not least, unruly behaviour needed to be discouraged especially in a built up area like Macclesfield town. Frenche (sic) owned a stock of sheep, draught beasts (unspecified whether oxen, bullocks, steers or heifers), working horses and pigs, and purchased wood from the Lord's forest. Ranulph Plonte (1383-84) of nearby Rainow has been assessed from court records to have owned much the same, though seemingly with fewer sheep and horses and acquiring less wood. Such assessments indicate also that both Frenche and Ranulph held a similar number of a few pigs and a similar number of draught animals. [Tonkinson pp.98, 251, 262]

As well as the aforesaid evident migration of the Plant name from France (recorded there in 1180, 1202, 1271), the deep y-DNA ancestry of the 'Main Plant Family' itself (their male-line genetic signature) arrived in this main Plant homeland evidently from France and, as yet, nothing close to their y-DNA signature has been found for anyone else, suggesting that its arrival was influenced by the wine trade (recreational DNA testing is generally not as prevalent in Europe as in Engliah speaking lands; it is as yet illegal in France for example). This Plant male-line ancestry evidently came from Gascony within the last millennium or two; and, if we are to guess at a more precise date, the migrated 'main family' ancestor could have arrived as a fourteenth-century vigneron or similar). There could have been military considerations alongside the wine trade, such that this could also have played a role – there are recorded Gascon crossbow men as well as recorded Gascon wine dealers.

6(ii)-B- Compound names and meanings, albeit that some are ambiguous

Reaney and Wilson ascribe a meaning 'vigneron' or 'worker at a vineyard' to the following early names in England.
In Huntingdonshire: le Vinnur, le Vinior, le Vinur, 1207, 1212; le Vinyour 1297. In Berkshire: de Winiard, 1212. In Somerset: Vigne, 1236, 1327; ate Wineard, 1327; le Vignon, 1333. In Worcestershire: de la Wingard, 1275. In Sussex: Vyner, 1407. Various similar occurences in London might sometimes mean instead wine seller at the sign of the vine – cf. also the meaning vintner for the names: le uinter c.1179 London; le Vyntener 1327 Lancashire; uinter 1170 Oxfordshire; le Vineter 1221 Surrey; le vynter 1327 Suffolk. [RW pp.364,387]

RW: Reaney and Wilson, A Dictionary of British Surnames, second edition, reprinted 1983 (Routledge and Kegan Paul)
Both of the following French names appear in both France and England, albeit with some corruption of the surviving French spellings. In France –: Plantevigne 'vine planter or vineyard' (also medieval) and Plantavin 'grape trampler or vineyard'. In England, they appear with such altered phonetics as -uyn, -vin, -vigne, apparently for the same or closely related person called Roger –: Roger Plantin, serjent of the Earl of Norfolk [1254 Close Rolls], Roger Plantyn butler of the said earl [1258 Close Rolls], Roger Plantyn granted the lands of William le May of Cawston in Norfolk by the Earl of Norfolk whilst he was Marshal of England [1258 Patent Rolls]. Alongside such corruptions as Plant[u]yn, there is also Roger Plantig' [1275 Hundred Rolls] holding land in Lincolnshire that former belonged to William May and hence closely related to Roger Plantyn [1258 Patent Rolls] who had been granted the lands of William May. This hence connects -[u]ig[n] and -[u]yn, evidently indicating -vine and -wine, seemingly with an emphasis on vines in connection with land holding and wine in connection with noble service. Given the awkwardness of -uign, there is also Roger Planteng’ holding receipt in Norfolk [1268 Close Rolls] along with 11 others including Roger le Bigod, which was the same name as that of the earl of Norfolk.
For further details of the above mentioned records, see here. The name Roger Plantyn as both butler and holding land in 1258 can be compared with a custom of land holdings, sometimes hereditary, in return for service [EUNAK pp.132, 265]. Hence the records might be for one or two hereditary Rogers called Plant(u)yn or Plantig' or similar, holding vineyards in return for serjainties of supplying wine etc. to the earl.

EUNAK: Robert Bartlett, England under the Norman and Angevin Kings 1075-1225 (Clarendon Press Oxford, 2000 reprinted 2013).
In this same region of England, there is also Wills Plauntes (1275) near Yarmouth, a port known for importing wines from Gascony and exporting herring [MWT pp.81,95,166]. Also in the 1275-79 Hundred Rolls, there was Roger Plante, Robert Plante and Wills Plante in Northstowe Hundred near Cambridge adjoining the Great Ouse river and, in adjoining Papworth Hundred, also immediately south of the river, Margery Plantcroft ?wine croft [cf. leefsel, wine room, Chaucer, Parson's tale, line 414]. Also Henry Plantain of Buckinghamshire [1285 Patent Rolls] can be compared with Planta[u]in. Upstream on the Great Ouse from Northstowe before reaching as far west as Planta[u]in in Buckinghamshire, there was also John Plaunte (1309) almost certainly identical [PMcC] with John Planterose (1332) both in the Subsidy Rolls for Riseley in Bedforshire with, given the context of nearby names, rose can be noted as being an attested colour for wine (ca.1300).
— Robert Planterose 1230, Johannes Planterose 1310. The number of times the (red or dark) grape skins of the plant-debris were pushed back down into the fermenting must (grape juice) controlled the colour of the wine; cf. the name Planterose 1210, 1332 (AN c.1136 rus1, f. rose, rouse, rousse, ruse, russe; c.1300 of wine, tinted, darkening with storage) with the adjective of colour following the plant such as in modern times for Pinot Noir (pine shaped bunch of dark grapes). The grape bunch stalks however increase the tannin and the sourness (likely of less concern for vinegar). The marc (ie. plant debris of skins, stalks, pips) was forked out of the bottom of the vats and used in further fermentations and ultimately as a mulch on the fields or mixed with hay for feeding animals.
In Cheshire in local dialect around the Plant homeland, albeit recorded much later in a nineteenth-century Dialect Dictionary, the word plant means the scum that rises to the surface of vinegar, similar to le chapeaux as called by French winemakers. Though perhaps surprising now, earlier in the fourteenth century vineyards could have existed near the Plant homeland and, at least, they were familiar there in so far as the local Gawain poet uses the word vyne seven times to mean a vineyard, albeit largely in connection with Christ's parable of the vineyard [Pearl 504, 507, 525, 527, 535, 582, 628].

Besides Plant(u)yn as vineyard, and Planterose as a wine colour, other compound names in England, at least in principle, can also be associated with planting vines and their fruitful products. Such names died out early in England, coinciding with the end of the French language at the English royal court (French was initially banned from plea courts and parliament in 1362). Some such names still exist in France, eg. Plantavin, Plantevigne, Plantefol, with each of these applicable to viticulture and wine.

In fact, in so-called Anglo-Norman times, all of the English compound names can be linked with wine, at least somehow:
— William Plantapeluda (1180, Normandy and Dorset) cf. Garnacha Peluda, peluda = fuzzy; vine with a fuzzy under-leaf, reduces wind scorch by reducing evaporation, similarly as for Pinot Meunier (with downy white leaves resembling a dusting of flour)
— Radulphus Plantebene or Planteben' (1199, 1200, Norfolk); Latin: bene(dicamus), (let us say) blessings, AN c.1185; vines for church blessings.
— Andrew Plantefene (1210, Leicester) AN, fien2, 1213, meaning 'terminal part of', fien is evidenced explicitly for 'vine ends' for grafting into a better root stock for the terroir; also MED fin adj. 1. c1330(?c1300) marbel fin, fine marble, a1375(1335-1361) ful fine wynes – Henri d'Andeli and contemporaries c.1225 describe wine tastes including fin.
More commonly recorded, there is:
— Plantefolie (1209 Leicestershire; 1226 Somerset; 1263 Weston’; 1267 Nottingham; 1270 Welle Fanerwal’ co. York; 1279 Godington Oxon, near Straton Audley) cf. modern French Plantefol [folie = AN c.1160 folly, foolishness; MED c.1230 (?a.1200) foolishness, MED fol adj. (b) ?a1300 Loue is fol = love is senseless, c1325(c1300) fole wille = foolish appetite of the soul] hence grain or vine foolishness, ale or wine craziness, cf. displaying drunken behaviour.
On the other hand, the following can be seen as an alternative explanation for Plantefene and then be extended also to Plantebene. Andrew Plantefene 1210 might be read as Andrew Plantefeve. Already by 1200 the letters n and u (for v) are frequently written in a way that makes them difficult to tell apart – Plantefeve would contain Old French feve "broad bean" and be synonymous with Plantebene [PMcC]. There are 59 entries of the modern surname Plantefeve around Lille in northernmost France.

On the Bristol Avon, a tributary of the Severn estuary, Robert Plonte c.1280 of Saltforde, once bailiff of Marshfield, purchased a tenement in Stall street, Bath, rendering yearly a rose at Midsummer [late June] and 3s twice yearly to the Bishop of Bath. It is known for example that at least 85 wine ships arrived at the port of Bristol during 1281-85 [MWT p.95]. In connection with a rose for the Bishop, various serjainties of idiosyncratic services or gifts to a noble existed, such as a rose at Christmas or bringing the king a cup of wine for breakfast [JSTOR Newsletter 13 Dec 2018]. If we are to accept the possible sense of Planterose as outlined above, a rose here for the Bishop could have referred to a wine specially stored and matured to become rose after nearly a year. Midsummer is too early for the freshly imported wine from the harvest [September at Saumur Castle in Anjou, early 15th centuary, TWTME frontipiece; also, new wine free of toll sold from second half of September to Nov. 11, locally at Bergerac in the Dordogne, 14th centuary, TWTME p.41], some of the new wine was held back for Christmas, and reek wines were drawn off the lees in January and February. Midsummer coincides with July to early August when the Bishop visited the fair in Bath manor [Bishop's traditional fair held 22 Feb and/or 1 Aug; also, charter for a 10 day fair on 29 June at Bath in 1284].

Besides rose as an attested wine colour, it was also a Roman custom to plant roses at the ends of rows of vines, to protect them from pests, a custom still practised at some vineyards in France, such as in the Bordelais near the Atlantic coast. Wine shipped from Bordeaux was favoured by the English throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, alongside considerable evidence that it was also produced locally in England. For example, there are 42 different manors listed with areas for vines in SE England in the Domesday Survey of 1086. In the times of William II (1087-1100) Phillip de Braiosa confirmed the gift of a vineyard by his father to Monmouth Priory on the river Wye, a tributary of the Severn estuary roughly opposite the Bristol Avon. A spate of instances of the Plant name at Bath on the Bristol Avon corresponds with the Little Ice Age of 1280-1340 – this presumably gave rise to a call for more wine from the south, either imported or grown locally to satisfy demand further north up the river Severn. The earls of Gloucester had their vineyards at Tewkesbury near the confluence of the Stratford Avon with the Severn. Further north than the Leek-Macclesfield Plant homeland, the archbishops of York had their vineyards at Askham near York. Even the king bought a quantity of cheap English wine at 10s a barrel in Bedford, cf. John Plaunte (1309) also called Planterose (1332) at Riseley, which also was in Bedfordshire [PMcC]. Further details are given in sections 6 to 10 here.

6(ii)-C- Gascony, wine, and patchy records around the Leek-Macclesfield homeland

Between 1303-4 and 1308-9, rare records show that over half the ships of the wine trade were English, from most English ports on the Channel and England's eastern North Sea coast, with a small group based along England's western Severn Estuary including at Lynmouth, Bridgwater and Bristol – known Plants are relatively numerous around such times along the Avon near Bristol, specifically during 1275-c.1360. Most of the remaining ships came from ports in Normandy or Brittany or from Bayonne (extreme south of France's western coast). [TWTME p.74] Gascon merchants largely controlled the wine trade from SW France in the boom years at the beginning of the fourteenth century but were gradually almost totally excluded by English merchants by c.1340. [TWTME p.69]

Wine from the Bordelais and upstream on the river Garonne in was controlled by the English, including in this trade's boom years in the fourteenth century. Until 1373, this control featured crown exemptions from the tolls levied by the Bordeaux jurats. Royal exemptions had been granted more widely, such as to include Bayonne in 1288 (bottom left side of left map below) [TWTME p.48]. Shortly before the first known evidence for the Plant name in its main homeland, the Black Prince had led his Grande Chevauchée of Anglo-Gascon forces in 1355 from Bordeaux south and east through SW France to the Mediterranean near Béziers and Narbonne and back (route shown in left map below). This gave access, other than by a long way by sea around Spain, not only to copious wine from Provence and from down the Rhône valley in SE France [TWTME pp.114-5] but also access to the most expensive and prestigious 'sweet wine' produced for the most part in the eastern Mediterranean [TWTME p.101].

A full year after the Grande Chevauchée, the battle of Poitiers (1356) was fought and won around 75 miles inland from La Rochelle (right hand map below) which is around 120 miles north of Bordeaux.

Modern Plante name in SW France (right map) coinciding with the Black Prince's Grande Chevauchée of 1355 (left map)
1355 SW France
chevauchee corresponds the modern Plante distribution
Plante name (brown) and Plantie name (blue). Outliers for Planty name (pink) are in the Loire and Rhône valleys

Leading up to the time of his 1355 Gascon chevauchée, the Black Prince (1330-76) had been earl of Chester since infancy in 1333 and had begun reorganising the administration of Macclesfield Hundred in 1347, with such innovations as a vaccary at the Cheshire-Staffordshire county border between Macclesfield (Cheshire) and Leek (Staffordshire). This was begun in 1354, though a request for funds was refused until after the Black Prince's 1356 Poitiers victory. Soon after, in 1360-63, William and Ranulph Plont are found in the Macclesfield part of the Plant homeland along with Thomas Plonte who was recorded at the fence of the said county-border vaccary (operating 1354-76), the primarily purpose of which was for raising 'oxen' (cattle) as draught animals.

The Plant name's arrival in the Macclesfield region of the subsequently most populous Plant homeland could have been partly in connection with the Anglo-Gascon forces of the Black Prince's 1355 Grande Chevauchée. Others who had served in Gascony are found in the Macclesfield part of the homeland such as ones involved in a feud within the Legh family c.1370: this included the murder of William Joudrel and another man who had served in Gascony and who was an ally and servant of Robert Legh [Tonkinson pp.141-2]. The father, Robert Legh, had earlier been elevated by the Black Prince to his foremost administrator in east Cheshire and Robert's son Robert Legh had been one of seven Archer Captains in 1355 for the Black Prince’s chevauchée [Madden pp.411-21]. If not the 1355 chevauchée itself, the wine trade more generally might have brought the main Plant family's Gascon y-DNA deep ancestry to England.

  Mollie Mary Madden, The Black Prince at War: The Anatomy of a Chevauchée, PhD dissertation, Uni Minesota, Dec. 2014

More generally, wine from Gascony had helped earlier to supply the 1282 English royal campaign into Wales from Chester; whereas, in campaigns in northern France, supplies of grain and victuals (cf. ale) from England helped with the requirements there [Madden pp.6-8]. In the 1282 campaign into Wales, under Edward I (b 1239, reigned 1272-1307), Gascon fighters were considered good soldiers, being especially skilled crossbowmen, and this was followed (1301) by the Plant name near Chester. More generally, the Gascon wine trade to England was growing through the thirteenth century and booming during much of the fourteenth when the Plant name is first known to have reached its main Leek-Macclesfield homeland.

The fourteenth-century Gawain poet of the Leek-Macclesfield region mentions wyn or wyne nine times including at a meal before three hunts from Hautdesert castle, identified with Swythamley in Heaton (Hautdesert, high wild place; cf. Heaton, high settlement) in the north of Leek parish. This was near the county border in the main Plant homeland. Both of the county border crossings at Swythamley and at Quarnford near Lud's Church are associated with early records for the homeland Plants as well as with key locations in the Gawain poem. Two miles north-east of Swythamley, along the river Dane county boundary, there is the rare and distinctive geology of Lud's Church which is identified with the Green Chapel in the climax of the Gawain poem; this is the place to which the Green Knight has directed Gawain [line 451] who debates with himself its appearance upon his arrival [line 2179]:
'To the Grene Chapel thou chose, I charge the[e] [451] ... Debatande with hymself quat [i.e. what] hit be myght [2179] nobot an olde cave [2182] Or a crevisse of an olde cragge [2183] overgrowen with gress in glodes aywhere [2181] This oritore is ugly, with erbez overgrowen' [2190] [BHO Staffs, Leek: Leekfrith fn.84; NSJFS xvii pp.26-28; also here and pp.13-15 here]
The earliest known Plant locations in its Leek-Macclesfield homeland are on saltways and at the county border (1363) as well as for Hond Plont being placed in Lyme woods (1369, 1377, 1379) not far from the Leghs of Adlington; Hond was also not far from the Warrens of Poynton who were illegitimate descendants of Geffrey Plantegenest. Besides a demand for wine to be expected from the gentry of Macclesfield and north Staffordshire, the call in the homeland would have been large for three visiting royal generations – Edward III, his son the Black Prince, and his son Richard II, along with their large entourages – with a steady demand also from visiting huntsmen as well as visitors to the fairs and markets at Macclesfield and Leek, with some wine also needed at Dieulacres abbey for instance.

In 1406 Edward Plont obtained a 39 year lease from the abbot of Dieulacres for two messuages, one at Roche grange as of old and the other nearer to Swythamley which is considered to have been the site of a hunting lodge near towering rock walls, supplying credible poetic inspiration for the imagined Hautdesert castle of the Green Knight in the Gawain poem. Dieulacres had a grange at Swythamley by 1291; and, in 1535, held what was called the manor of Heaton. After the abbey's Disolution in 1539, the crown retained this manor until 1614 when William Plant of Heaton bought a half share selling it in 1629 [BHO Staffs, Leek: Heaton].

   [BHO = British History on Line, VCH Staffs Vol 7, Leek and the Moorlands (1996); NSJFS = North Staffordshire Journal of Field Studies, vol 17, Ralph W V Elliott (1978) Staffordshire and Cheshire Landscapes in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, pp.20-49]

A medieval route from Leek to Macclesfield crossed the county border at the edge of Swythamley, at Danebridge, earlier called Scliderford c.1190, with a bridge by 1357, which was called Sliderford bridge in 1545. Another county border crossing was at Quarnford near the aforesaid vaccary and Lud's Church where during 1362-76 Thomas Plont was in dispute with the Macclesfield courts concerning trespass with a bullock, quite likely one used for transport.

For evidence of the supply of wine there was, not too far way from the Leek-Macclesfield homeland, rare evidence of some accounts for imported wine are dated 1394-1412 for a Talbot household near Whitchurch. This is around 30 miles to the west of the said main Plant homeland, where the steward obtained most of the required wine from Chester (ship port) and from Shrewsbury (barge port). Wine from Chester came by sea from Europe's Atlantic coast, while that from Shrewsbury came from Bristol up the river Severn, perhaps transshipped onto river barges at somewhere like Gloucester. [TWTME p.83] From wine at Shrewsbury, there was likely further trade up the river Tern tributary of the Severn to the Heleigh castle of the Audley lords whose lands reached through their north Staffordshire estates, including to Stoneycliff adjoining Dieulacres lands to the north of Leek town, with some abbey land also to the north just south of Macclesfield town.

Along with Gascon wine by sea to Chester, the Mystery Cycle plays for Chester provide some insights, presumably evocative also for the hinterland that reached the Plants' Leek-Macclesfield homeland. Two of these plays mention wine (final versions by 1500). Play VIII, by the vintners, mentions the three kings coming to 'worship with wine' the newborn Christ and then ends with Herod telling 'to fill the wine high .. against these kings coming'. Play XVII, by the Tapsters and Hostlers, highlights a woman – a taverner, tapster, and brewer of wine and ale – who made illegal trades without proper accounts, such as diluting the wine with water. She laments that she must hence remain always with Satan, evidently indicating the seriousness with which the profession defended its reputation.

6(ii)-D- Some patchy, relatively informative Plant records

The earliest stated occupations (or activities indicated in brackets) for the Plant name are various and feature not least religious occupations. These might relate to the biblical sense '6(i)' of the word plant though instead they might relate more to the sense '6(ii)' planted vines with religious wine for blessings and the eucharist. Medieval monasteries cultivated vineyards including as a commercial operation especially in France. Churches also were endowed with them, though claims have been questioned that the Christian Mass was the primary reason, rather than an additional factor, for the spread northwards of vineyards from the Mediterranean; it has been noted instead that wine had been embedded in fashionable social life even earlier, particularly in the higher echellons [TWTME pp.43, 116-7, 154]. Largely all of the earliest known Plant acctivities and occupations, though diverse, can be seen in some way to have been compatible with vines or wine, possibly with the militaristic hint of fignting duals for example relating to the defence of vineyards:
(fighting duels) 1180; (dispossed of land) 1202; Chancellor 1244; merchant 1273; bailiff c.1280; priest 1350; priest 1358; chaplain 1370; (at draperie) 1376; gardener 1377; agricole 1381; chaplain 1386.
Early surviving records for the Plant name are more sparse in France, attributable not least to the fact that France mostly lacked England's early centralised royal attention to record keeping followed by England's relative isolation from foreign destructions. Apart from the aforementioned name Plante or Plaunt in Normandy in 1180 and 1273, and de la Planta in the Loire valley 1202, and de Planty in the Champagne region in 1271, the earliest known instances in France (aside from 'English' Plant archers during the so-called Hundred Years War) are:
1350: Henry Plante of Risole, priest of the diocese of London – London in SE England is ca.700 miles distant from Risoul in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in SE France, where the terroir includes the cold wind of the Mistral down the Rhône valley which spreads out more widely near the coast; this 1350 record coincides with the Popes at Avignon on river Rhône 1309 to 1376; the name de la Plante was in this region of south east France by 1415 and Plant by 1446

1441: Richard Planté bought l'hôtel et hébergement de la Guillauderie in Génac, followed by his son Guilaume with further inherited property there in 1473; this is near Angoulême, between Limoges and the Bordeaux estuary, towards south western France – cf. hosteler, tapster

1512, 1515: Bernard Planté, priest of Aignan and supplier of wine, south west France. Aignan is near a tributary of the river Ardour which reaches the SW coast of France near Bayonne.
Specifically for the English Main Plant Homeland there is, in 1437, Richard Plant of Stonycliff, which was on the saltway that passes to the north of Leek town, and Richard also held land at Saltersclough evidently on another saltway that passed by the south of Macclesfield town. Such saltways of course do not imply the transport of only salt heading eastwards from medieval heated pans of brine fed from the salt springs in the Cheshire plains; the saltways were also used no doubt for transporting other goods. Given the importance of the trade in wine at that time, Richard's interest in both places could have involved the transport of commodities associated with wine. In Richard's deed of 21 Dec. 1437 [pp.2-4 here] the abbot granted 'Richard Plant of Stonycliff' (near Leek) the right to enclose Dieulacres land at Lymgrene (near Macclesfield) to add to his own land, and the abbey 'will for ever defend the aforesaid ... against all people'. Richard's locations near both Leek and Macclesfield (1437), along with Thomas's bullock at the county border (1362-76), imply at least some travels and also suggest plausibly the transport of these Plants' goods.

Before 1453, when English rule in Gascony ceased, the Gascon wine trade had been almost an English monopoly, with only small amounts of the wine reaching elsewhere. Most of the vintage was shipped to England and unloaded to a great extent on the quays of London, Hull, Southampton and Bristol [TWTME p.69]. Though records are less complete for Wales and Ireland and Chester, not least because of exemptions from prise of wine (royal tax), Dublin in Ireland was roughly en route to Chester. For example, the shipping freight charge in 1394-5 from Bordeaux was 15s per ton to Dublin, or 18s to Beaumaris on the isle of Anglesey, or the same for passing further along the north Wales coast to Chester [MWT p.152].
[MWT: M K James, Studies in the Medieval Wine Trade (Clarendon, Oxford, 1971)]
Leading up to the loss of Gascony by the English crown, though not all trade then ceased, the first noble known to have been called Plantagenet, since Geffrey Plantegenest of both Anjou and Normandy (1113-51), was a grandson of Edward III namely Richard duke of York. He was Lieutenant of France (1436-7, 1440-5) and then Lieutenant of Ireland (1447-60). By this time, this royal name is known to have had a parallel in the ungentum geneste (broom salve) which was made from broom flowers in an ointment that was ‘goud for alle coulde goutes’ [MED ?c1450 (Stockh.10.90) 65/8]. Tinted wine was similarly held to warm the body in all its parts [TWTME p.133]. One of three sons of this Duke Richard was George Duke of Clarence, who was born at Dublin Castle in 1449 (left map below) and he was the secular Primate of Ireland (1462-78) followed by his nephew Richard of Shrewsbury (1478-83), son of Edward IV and one of the two so-called Princes in the Tower. As illustrated below, D in right hand map denotes Dublin which was roughly en route from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the port of Chester (marked C). It was also around Dublin that Sir John Plant (c.1479-84) [details here] was prebendary of Howthe (most easterly promontory in left map below), freeman of Dublin (inlet south of Howth), and chaplain, seneschal and executor for the will of Archbishop John, religious Primate of Ireland. Five inventories (contents missing) accompanying the Archbishop's will include one for 'in cellar and buttery' and another for 'in pantry &c.'. As household seneschal, the responsibilities of Sir John would have no doubt included the supply of wine for cellar and pantry. This apparent usage of the Plant name, seemingly involving the supply of wine, can be considered to be similar to that above in section 6(ii)-B for Roger Plant[u]yn in 1254 and 1258 in connection with the Earl of Norfolk.

Sir John Plant (c.1479-84) wine etc. seneschal of the Archbishop Primate; and the Main Plant Family (red circles) by c.1800
Pale of Ireland and Main
Plant Family
The Pale of Ireland under direct crown rule is shown in 1488 by dotted line (left) corresponding to coastal area D in right map:
B Bristol Channel; C Chester; D Dublin

The right hand map above also shows the location of a more-modern concentration of the genetically-matching 'Main Plant Family' in the NW Midlands of England (red circles) with a particular line of its early locations stretching along a line north and south of the vaccary on the county border represented by the small black star; the two red circles above the star correspond roughly with the location of Macclesfield. The placement of the red circles is based on the documented locations of the earliest known male-line ancestors of the living Plants that have been y-DNA tested (details here). The red main-family circles are also shown across in Ireland, with the ancestry there dating bask at least to 1768 (probably to 1720 for P25a). The map also shows male-line unmatching Plants (yellow squares, etc.) concentrated in particular to the south of the black star. The overall picture for the Main Plant Family (red circles) includes some southwards migration and a cluster to the east across on the other side of the high moorlands of the north Derbyshire Peak District.

6(ii)-E- Gascony, Plantavigne and the Medium Plantum system

Given that the Main Plant Family of the most populous English Plant homeland has its ancestry in Gascony, it seems relevant to consider the circumstance there. Also, the modern French name Plantevigne has been described in section 6(ii)-B above, in connection with apparent corruptions of that name, yielding Plantyn 1258 and Plantig' 1275 with granted lands in Norfolk and Lincolnshire, for the same person or two closely related people in an inheritance. Much the same name Plantavigne is recorded early in the Gascony region. Johan Plantavigne was tortured for 40 days as an ‘English’ sympathiser at Montauban in the last years (1369-72) of the Black Prince’s Principality of Aquitaine [Pépin fn.154]. Montauban was a bastide (fortified town) founded 1144 and ceded to the English in 1360 and, though it does not appear in the map below, it is 31 miles north of Toulouse, roughly halfway from Agen to Albi.
[Guillhem Pépin, Towards a new assessment of the Black Prince's Principality of Aquitaine: a study of the last years (1369-72), Nottingham Medieval Studies, vol.50 (2006) pp.59-114]
Given the Gascon deep ancestry of the Main Plant Family along with the more widespread early evidence for the Plant name, this evidently highlights origins for the Plant name involving the copious vines and grapes that had been encouraged especially in Gascony by the English crown. These were not only near to the location of the capital Bordeaux of the Aquitaine, but also, in order to fulfil the large English demand, wine was brought downstream to Bordeaux from additional, newly planted vineyards upstream, 'de haut pays'. That inland region fell out of English control and was neglected, around the times of the mid fourteenth-century plague, with no exported wine at all being recorded for 1350-51. Then, even after the Black Prince's victory at Poitiers in 1356, the price of wine from Bordeaux did not fall, perhaps partly because of the competing demand of the Prince's resident retinue there, diminishing the supply for export, and the exports from there to England continued gradually to decrease, when summarised overall on average, through the times of the so-called Hundred Years War (started 1337) which ended in favour of France in 1453.

Around the times of the formative Plant name in England, such as with Roger Plant[u]in (1254-68) and William Plauntes (1275) near Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast, there were relatively few fortified towns (bastides) in English Gascony. These are shown in red in the 1271 map of Aquitaine below. Charters for 975AD-1050 show that this region of western Aquitaine had undergone the least feudal influence, leaving the allods there owned outright with no overlord. This western region also had the highest percentage of the largest category (villas and larger) of the allods amongst all of the lands south of Poitou and Burgundy. Throughout the south, the allods had a particular system for the planting of vineyards.
SW France
Bastides in 1271
The sparsity of Bastides in western Aquitaine by 1271 with English foundations in red
The evidence indicates that it generally needed five years to establish a vineyard [TWTME pp.66-8]. This was the initial period of a medium plantum agreement [aka 'complant' or 'complantacio'] between a land owner and a small tenant plantador or plantadores [Lewis pp.341-3] who cleared the ground and then planted and tended the vines, before usually half of the cultivated plantada [Lewis pp.340, 352] reverted to the landowner, a system used from early times for new vineyards as well as to revive abandoned ones, such as after the attritions of the mid-fourteenth century Black Death [TWTME pp.26-27, Espinas, Lewis]. This system was commonly used throughout southern France, south of Poitou and Burgundy. The particular pattern of large estates in English Gascony lasted until the late thirteenth, or early fourteenth century when new bastides (fortified towns) began to increase the extent to which smaller plots of land surrounded them which then became more readily available for cultivation [Lewis p.482].
[Georges Espinas review of Roger Grand (1917) Contribution à l'histoire du régime des terres. Le contrat de complant depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours, Journal des Savants 7 pp.332-4]
[A R Lewis The Development of Southern French and Catalan Society, 718-1050 (Uni Texas Press, 1965)].
This early land system, including the cultivated plantada vineyards, can be compared with 334 occurrences of the living surname Plantade, mainly near Toulouse around 140 miles SE of Bordeaux [almost twice as far upstream on the river Garonne as Agen in the map above and into the Languedoc Toulousain]. There are also 817 occurrences of Plante name, particularly around Gascon West Aquitaine itself, as well as to its east, where Plante mingled with 102 occurences of Plantie [see map above in section 6(ii)-C showung the 1355 Grande Chevauchée and the distribution of the Plante-Plantie-Planty living surnames]. Also, mostly further north, there are 105 living instances of the different spelling Planty some of which reach towards some of the 58 occurrences of Plantadis, particularly around Limoges 130 miles to the NE of Bordeaux, with Planty outliers spread more widely to the Loire and Rhône valleys [I give some further details of the living surname distribution data here].

The different word and name endings beg the question of why, though my explanation here might be disputed. For the word and names plantada, Plantade, and Plante, the Latin ending -a and the French ending -e both suggest the feminine gender, consistent with a cultivated and planted patch of land with the fertility of 'mother' earth. That could imply a topographical surname, meaning 'living at or near' cultivated land for a vineyard. The ending -i could imply the Latin masculine genitive singular, perhaps implying his retained portion of a plantada, after it had been halved between tenant and land owner, thereby explaining the phonetically similar endings Plantadis, Plantie and Planty.

Society south of Poitou and Burgundy remained largely non-feudal until the armed might of Northern French Monarchs and Nobles integrated it into a new France which overtook the allod system of outright ownership increasingly in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries [Lewis p.499] but with known medium plantum agreements reaching into the fifteenth century around Toulouse, Quercy and Orléans [TWTME p.26]. This was well into the times of the surname origins for living Plant descendants.

6(ii)-F- Summary of early vine, wine and the homeland

In summary, early usages of the word plant can relate to – a vigneron (cf. vine plant1) – grapes trampled by sole of foot (cf. plant2) – vine residue as vinegar scum (plant in local Cheshire dialect) – and these can be related to occupational meanings of the Plant name, stemming initially not least from vineyard plantations, with the name likely migrating to England under the influence of the very substantial wine trade at the time, from changing regions of France, such as from Normandy (Durand Plante 1180) and then, with the English crown's loss of northern France in the early thirteenth century, predominantly from Gascony in SW France. This apparently serves to explain the distant Gascon deep ancestry of the main Plant family which arrived in the name's most populous Leek-Macclesfield homeland, perhaps around the same time as the earliest known evidence for the Plant name there, dated to the regnal year 24 January 1360/61.

Accordingly with this, particular activities for these Plants could seemingly have related to the planted vine (plant1) as well as grape crushing by the planted foot (plant2) and also appropriately to the homeland a use for plant-marc (plant debris from fermentations) as a ground mulch as well as supplementing hay as an animal feed. The earliest known locations of the Plant surname in its main Leek-Macclesfield homeland are consistent with transportations of associated commodities from, or to, or through, locations that are at the county border of Macclesfield (SE Cheshire) with Leek (NE Staffordshire), and at transition points to higher ground to the east of the Leek-Macclesfield homeland, on the three saltways that pass through this most populous homeland for English Plants.

There was a military element with royal involvement associated with the wine trade. However, at best, military senses for plant seem no more than secondary to acts of planting in connection with the vine and other plants, extending especially to the supply as well as the production of wine. That said, there were archers serving the English crown in northern France who were named with the spellings: le Plante in 1415-16; Plante 1417, 1429, 1441; Plant 1421, 1423, 1430; Plont 1430; and Plantes 1440-1. In English, in the OED, there is the attested sense by 1500 [OED plant v 4b] -⚬4b 'to place (artillery) in position for discharging', though it needs to be doubted that there was such a muddled sense as: -⚬ 'plant shoots into flesch' [arrow in French is flèche]. Further south in SW France, for the English Duchy of Aquitaine (Gascony), there are the further senses: in French se planter 'to station oneself'; in Spanish planton 'guard'; and, in the OED, the attested senses [OED plant v 2d, 3d, 4d]: -⚬2d 'to establish or settle oneself' by 1560, and -⚬3d 'settle someone' by 1562, and -⚬4d 'station oneself' by ?1544.

Earlier in the Aquitaine region that evidently provided the main-family ancestry of a majority of living Plants, there were fortifications only near Bordeaux, with mainly Gascon troops stationed elsewhere at strategic points like at major road junctions, bridges and fords, backed up with additional English soldiers when needed [BAB p.64]. This might remind us of the earliest known locations of the Plants in their subsequent main Leek-Macclesfield homeland, given that they seem to have been stationed at strategic places, with the available detail suggesting for example two seemingly rather 'militaristic' individuals here: Thomas Plont (1363-82) involved in a dispute with the Macclesfield court (1363-76) and with a 1379 beheading; and Richard Plant (1437) near Leek granted permission to raise an enclosure near Macclesfield to be defended against all people.
[BAB: Christopher D Turgeon (2000) Bachus and Bellum: The Anglo-Gascon Wine Trade and the Hundred Years War (987-1453), MA thesis, Faculty of History, College of William and Mary, Virginia]
More widely, the contention of an early focus especially on vines and wine evidently expanded into related activities which, in particular, involved the 'sole of foot' sense of plant2 for foot fulling woollen cloth or as a rebus for a stamp of authority, such that this sense should not be ignored. This can be seen as elevating vines and wines as a particular likely influence for the Plant surname above other types of plants and fruits which lack an additional 'sole of foot' meaning.
♦ Transport of other heavy materials
Richard Plant, 1301, rights to coal at Eweloe near Chester; Richard and Ranulph Plont, 1401, guarantors for farm of deadwood and coal in Macclesfield forest.
♦ Foot fulling of woollen fabric
Will Plant, 1376, at draperie in Leicester; Guillaume De La Plante, 1415, weaver, near Ganges, SE France; Richard Plant, 1455, fuller of Edelsburgh, Buckinghamshire and, near Leek town, Lawrence Plont of the Reede-yerth, 1504, sold a tent ?of foot fulled cloth and, also at Redearth, John Plant, 1666, weaver.
♦ Rebus stamp of authority
Andreas Planta, 1244, Chancellor of the Upper Engadine, with the subsequent arms of the local Planta families being the sole on an upturned severed bear's leg as illustrated here.
From the start to end of the fourteenth century, the price of wine paid by England's royal butler increased from £3 to £6 per tun and the price in London jumped from 6d to 8d a gallon between 1360 and 1361, which coincides with the time of the first known evidence of Plants in the Black Prince's Lordship of Macclesfield. It is possible that the rising price could have stimulated more local production in England, though price was not the most important consideration for the noble consumers of quality wine.

In the Leek-Macclesfield Plant homeland, transport would evidently have included loaded tubs or casks on bullock carts, or suspended goods on bullock yolks, and, appropriate to high ground to the east of the homeland, the pack-horse loads could have included panniers of plant debris from fermentations to supplement animal feed across the relatively barren moorlands to the east [cf. plant in Cheshire dialect] with possibly also bladders of wine or vinegar attached to the panniers. Though we no longer countenance wine production near such a location as the Plants' Leek-Macclesfield homeland (given that we now have far more easily imported and transported bottled wine) the evidence for medieval times does not disallow such bullock and packhorse transport, not only of imported wine, but also of that produced from more locally-sourced grapes and other fruits – for example the archbishops of York owned a vineyard at Askham 70 miles to the north and, for example, the illustration below features a grape vine at Lincoln at the same latitude as the Leek-Macclesfield homeland.

Grapes in
misericord in Lincoln Cathedral and trampling grapes by foot
Grapes in a Lincoln Cathedral misericord, at the same latitude as the Leek-Macclesfield homeland and trampling grapes by sole of foot in an illustration from The Plantagenet Chronicles (editor Elizabeth Hallam, 1995) p.270

More particularly, for the explicitly known evidence for the homeland, there is: -⚬ a 1395 court case concerning wine imported by William French to Macclesfield brought from the port of Chester [Tonkinson p.98] alongside -⚬ the local brewing by the owners of surplus grain at a distance from the Macclesfield market [Tonkinson pp.69, 84, 89-96, 112, 114, 116-9, 121-3, 125-6, 128-9]. To expand appropriately on the evidence for the local Plants here, there is the implied transport of burdensome goods, with Richard Plant's rights to coal in 1301 near Chester, and an association with deadwood and coal in Macclesfield forest for Ranulph and Richard Plont in 1401, following on from the last few decades of the fourteenth century with its evidence of draught animals and horses for Ranulph Plont, 3 miles NE of the Macclesfield market at Rainow in the climb up to high moorlands [Tonkinson p.263]. Added to this there is the bullock of Thomas Plonte (1363-76), which also plausibly implies transportation, and also the king's pardon that he produced to the Stafford court in 1382, which was solely for him apart from similarly for a Thomas Page, with no other pardon from the king for the nine others who were also charged alongside the abbot for the beheading of a John de Warton in 1379. We might accordingly conjure up, from such clues, an access to royal influence that could have derived not least from a role of the early Plant name-bearers in satisfying a demand from high authority, by supplying them with their valued wine, and this also seems consistent with, for example, the 1445 inclusion of John Plant jnr in a list of 98 Knights, Gentlemen and Freeholders in Macclesfield Hundred.

Thus, we might envision, alongside the abbot's rights to salt from the Cheshire salt springs to the west, the transport of wines from planted vines with grapes crushed by sole of foot, taken to enclosed Plant locations, including to the two aforesaid of Richard Plant in 1437, where they were sub-divided alongside vinegar in small quantities obtained from a second fermentation of wine, to be transferred to packhorses in, or from the protected enclosures that needed defence 'against all people' [1437 deed], with the supposed goods having been readied for onward travel over high ground to the east as well as to elsewhere.

A brief digest can accordingly be sketched with a selection of a few chosen facts. On 24 August 1359, all bailiffs and keepers of ports and waters of North Wales, South Wales, Cornwall and Devon were ordered not to take any prise or custom from Cheshire merchants blown off course with ships laden with wines and other wares from Bordeaux [Black Prince's Register, iii, 363], Bordeaux being the capital of the Black Prince's governance of Gascony which was the principal source of wine as England's main import. The next year, on 15 July 1360, two complainants had paid 2 tons prise of wine when calling at Ireland, en route from Gascony to Chester, where the chamberlain took a further two tons, the monetary value of which was reimbursed by the Black Prince [BPR iii 391]. That same year 1360/1, the first known Plants in Cheshire, Ranulph and William, paid for grazing animals in the Black Prince's Lordship of Macclesfield forest, followed in 1363/4 by Thomas Plont being indicted and in 1365/6 judged as an outlaw of the Macclesfield courts because of, as described more fully at the Macclesfield Hundred eyre annual court in the summer of 1375, for having failed to pay the fine for grazing a bullock near the Quarnford river crossing from Macclesfield into Staffordshire. As a further clue, the deep male-line ancestry of the Main Plant Family of this most populous Leek-Macclesfield Plant homeland is found most frequently genetically in a region around Gascony in SW France, which is also the main location of the living Plante surname in France. Such few facts can be put forward to characterise the English origins of the surname of most living Plants and, together with the genetically distinct French-Canadian spelling Plante, with both of these two populous surname families being regarded as having had a name that was fluidly 'topographical or occupational' and having had an initial sense that derived especially from the culturally important medieval French vineyards.


Some further details concerning the evidence are given in the following document.

In the document here, I focus objectively afresh on my accumulated records though it then becomes more conjectural for the earliest times (some parts still under development) that are discussed in detail towards the end. Title:
Early documents for the main Plant homeland and considering links back to Saltford and Coutances.   Contents: _1. Trespass at the Cheshire-Staffordshire county border (page 2); _2. Thomas Plonte and a charge against the Abbot (p.4); _3. The Plonte name on both sides of the county border (p.7); _4. A geographical link between the early homeland Plontes (p.10); _5. Recap for the homeland (p.12). Early links to elsewhere: _6. The Plonte name earlier on the Bristol Avon at Bitton, Saltford and Bath (p.13); _7. Circumstantial links of the Saltford-Bath Plontes to the main homeland (p.17); _8. The Plante name in the Cotentin (1180) and dispossessed after Mirebeau (p.27); 9. Name migration and the wine trade (p.35); _10. A brief recap of an assessment of early records (p.81); _11. An updated summary of the Plant name's meanings, Nov 2023 (p.83).


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Early Plant records continued. 1360-1 etc
Ran'o (from Ranulph) and Will'o Plont paid a fee for grazing, recorded in a Macclesfield Forest 'herbage' list. This is an isolated fees list [TNA SC2/155/87] before further animal related lists starting 1369/70 for pannage, herbage, escapura as follows: 1369 Ran Ra(lph) Honde; 1370 Ran Ra Elen; 1374 Ra Ran; 1376 Ra; 1377 Hond; 1378 Ric Ran Ra Will; 1379 Hond. Of those of 1360-1 Ran(ulph) is mentioned again in 1369, 1370, 1374 1378 and Will(iam) in 1378.
1363-76
Thomas Plontt: Earliest known location of a homeland Plant. It seems that Thomas might not have fulfilled a Macclesfield Court indictment 1363-4, and was judged as an outlaw for not finding full surety for a large fine in 1375/6, though a case description of 1376/7 sugests a relatively minor infringement perhaps harshly judged as an outlaw for crossing over the county border in Leek. This was a little before the reign of the more pious and less bellicose Richard II whose regnal years start on June 22 insted of January 25. It was then likely the same Thomas who obtained a King's pardon as recorded at Stafford on 5 May 1382.
▪ Thomas indicted 1363-4 [TNA CHES20/7m1]; ▪ sentenced 1375-6 [TNA SC2/253/1m8obv] at the eyre court which the Black Prince had introduced with large fines for forest enfringements in his tenure of Cheshire which started in 1347:    ▻: 'Fine relating to Thomas Plontt outlaw and similarily judged for the same. Concerning the fine paid by the pledge of Gilbert de Hulcokes and Robert de Holynsets And he is committed to prison until surety can be found for his good behaviour < overagainst the forest by the pledge of Walter de Homeeldum and John le Day under pain of 40s.> -------20s'
▪ indicted 1375-6 [TNA CHES 20/7m5obv]; 1376-7, Ed III 49, transcription and translation [TNA SC2/235/8/m8]:    ▻ 'And that Thomas Plont took a bullock against the forest law outside County when that bullock had grazed the grass of the lord in the vaccary of Miggelegh (Midgley) and he had not payed for the stray fine during the 48th year and more etc.' ▪ See also 1381-2 below, King's pardon at county court of Stafford.
1370
Alexander Plant, chaplain serving in France under Sir Robert Knolles, 30 May 1370, Letters of Protection, TNA C76/53 m.20, from https://www.medievalsoldier.org/
1376
Will. Plante, draperie, Leicester Borough Archives
1376
John Plonte?, witness to quitclaim of land at Ernele, Wiltshire and Swindon Archives, 1720/175
1377
Willelmo Plant, gardiner, Myton, East Riding of Yorkshire, Poll Tax
1379
Johannes Plonte, Offchurch, Warwickshire, Poll Tax
1381
Johannes Plante, agricole, Great Finsborough, Suffolk, Poll Tax returns
1381
wife of Walterus Plante amongst family servants at Pentlow, Essex, Poll Tax returns
1381-2
Thomas Plonte is not mentioned in 1379 and 1380 accounts at Westminster of the case of the beheading of John de Warton of Leek, a case brought against the Abbot of Dieulaces concerning abuse of his right of gallows; neither does Thomas Plonte appear in a 1380 account of the case at the Stafford court. However, in 1381, Thomas Plonte and John le Sumpter are accused at the Stafford court by the widow of the executed John de Warton of aiding and abetting nine murderous felons accused of considerable violence. In a postscript to this same account, on 5 May 1382, Thomas Plonte produced the King's Letters Patent, pardoning him of all felonies committed previous to 10 December 1381. Staffordshire Historical Collection XIV, 156-157. See also 1363-76 records for a Thomas Plant above and 1395 dated item below.
1381
William Plante, son of Alan sued John Emson of Burgh for debt, Lincolnshire, Common Pleas
1383-84
Ranulph Plont (father of John Plont snr and grandfather of William Plont and John Plont jnr), leasing land at Rainow [messuage rental PRO SC 11/898], east Cheshire. Macclesfield Court Rolls [from SC 2 above]
1386
Plonte William, chaplain (land of prior and convent of Bath), rent in Olveston, Gloucestershire, Patent Rolls
1394
Plaint John, aged 60 years or more, witness at Lincoln to proof of age of John of Gaunt's mistress's husband's son - John Plaint had been servant to Master Thomas de Sutton, Calendar of Inquisitions [1394 document here]
1395
John Plonte and 4 others were witnesses to a conveyance from John de Grenley of 2½ acres of land in Leek to Thomas Payge [R+B,2,7; Sleigh p.219 n.5] [Note: the names Payge and Plonte occur also in a case against the Abbot of Dieulacres and his retainers: namely, Thomas Page was cited as one of nine violent felons and Thomas Plonte as one of two who aided and abetted but they had both surrendered and produced Kings Letters Patent of pardon at Stafford Court in 1382, see 1381-2 dated item above; also the names Robert Page and John Plant junior both appear in the 1445 list below] [John de Grenley evidently refers to Grindley (near Uttoxeter) which was spelled Grenlee in the 13th century and Grenley in the 14th century (Horovitz, PhD thesis, 2003); Dieulacres abbey held land around Field, under 3 miles north of Grindley, as well as around Leek parish]
1397
John and Richard Plont, and six others sued by Peter Legh for trespassing with cattle at Quarnford, north Staffordshire. Staffordshire Historical Collection, XV, 78-79. This could be near the Vaccary at Midgley Gate (Cheshire) [see 1363-76 dated item above] [Quarnford (Staffordshire) is marked Q on the above 1840 map] [1397 document here]
1401
Richard Plont guarantor for farm of deadwood; Ranulph Plont guarantor for farm of coal in the forest of Macclesfield, Macclesfield Court Rolls
1401
witness John Plonte the Younger of Overton. Staffordshire Historical Collections 1928 41, Ancient Deeds Preserved at the Wodehouse, Wombourne 76 2/65
1406
Edward Plont granted by the Abbot of Dieulacres abbey, near Leek in north Staffordshire, a lease for 39 years of two mess' one croft called Calwoheye de Roche Graunge. R+B,2,7
1410s
John Plont jnr started acquiring lands at Rainow, Macclesfield Court Rolls (apparently he who was subsequently listed as one of 98 Knights, Gentlemen and Freeholders in Macclesfield Hundred in 1445)
1415
Guillaume De La Plante weaver, marriage contract near Ganges, Hérault, France (further marriages here, including to a noble, 1471 and 1473) [around 30 miles north of Montpellier on Mediterraenean coast]
1415-16
John le Plante, archer, garrison, mustered at Harfleur in eastern Normandy, under Captain Thomas Beaufort (c.1377-1426) earl of Dorset, duke of Exeter, TNA E101/47/39 [from database at https://www.medievalsoldier.org/] [Note: this archer John le Plante in 1415-16 was evidently the same person as the archer John Plante in 1417, likely also for the archer(s) John Plant at Harfleur in 1421 and 1423 below; there is less certainty about any shared identity of the recorded archers: John Plont in 1430; John Plantes in 1440-41 and John Plante in 1441]
1417
John Plante, archer, garrison, mustered at Harfleur in eastern Normandy, under Commander Thomas Beaufort (c.1377-1426) earl of Dorset, duke of Exeter, TNA E101/48/17 [Note: Beaufort was appointed captain of Harfleur in 1415 and lieutenant of Normandy in 1416]
1418
John Plant sued Thomas Chapford of Stickford, draper, for trespass, Lincolnshire, Common Pleas
1418, 1422, 1430
John Plante of Ware, butcher, Hertfordshire and others sued for debt by others in Essex, Huntingdonshire, and Middlesex, Common Pleas [incidental note: in 1399 Edmund Duke of York had summoned a muster at Ware attended by many including Sir John Bussy of Hougham, Lincolnshire with an estimated 200 men, cf Walter Plant in Subsidy Roll of Hougham, 1332 above. In 1378, Bussy had become Steward of John of Gaunt's lands north of the Trent, some in north Staffordshire, continuing in Gaunt's service until 1397 though he had entered the service of Richard II by 1391 and was beheaded in 1399 for misleading the king]
1421
John Plant, archer (foot), mustered to garison at Harfleur in Normandy, under Captain Ralph Cromwell (1393-1456) Lord Cromwell, TNA E101/509/9, nos. 1 and 2
1423
John Plant, archer, mustered to garison at Harfleur in Normandy, under Captain William Minors, 9 Oct, BNF MS Fr.25767, no.40
1429
Richart Plante, archer, mustered Chartres, retinue in the field, siege of Orleans, under Captain Sir John Fastolf of Caistor, 13 Jan, BL Add. Ch.11611
1430
Jehan (John) Plont, archer, garrison of Monceaux under captain Richard Bromelay, 3 Jun 1430, muster roll BNF NAF 20522 no.28 [?seemingly Monceaux in Oise roughly 17 miles SW of Compiegne where Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians on 23 May 1430 and handed over to the English]
1437
John Plant snr and John Plant jnr gave oaths with ten others on 11 Jun 1437 in the Inquisition Post Mortem at Prestbury for John de Downes (came of age 1409, died 1421) concerning his fee of the manor of Tackleshole and the advowson of the church there [J P Earwaker, East Cheshire: Past and Present (London, 1877) Vol II]
1437
John Weende sued John Plant of Orby, husbandman and 7 others for debt, Lincolnshire, Common Pleas
1437
Richard Plant of Stonycliffe, grant from Abbot of Dieulacres for enclosure near Lymgrene (Calendar of Charters and Rolls preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford: Staffordshire, Charter 186) [see also ⇾ Note 3a) above]. This appears incorrectly in Sleigh [1883, p.114] as 'An old deed from John, abbot and monk of Dieulacresse, leave to make an enclosure (clausuram) near a place called Lingrene in Henry VI times, was in the hands of Dr Farmer, chancellor of Norwich'. The imperfect 1730's notes by Loxdale on this and the original licence, dated 21 Dec 1437, are given here.
1440, 1441
John Plantes, archer in Muster Rolls for the Garrison of Caudebec in east Normandy, under captain Fulk Eyton, 13 Feb 1440 BNF MS Clairambault 160, no.63 and (as ordinary and field company) 27 Oct 1441 BNF MS Fr 25776 no.1513
1441
John Plante, archer in the expedition to France of commander Richard of York (1411-60) Duke of York, under captain John de Vere (1408-62) Earl of Oxford (retinue roll TNA E101/53/33 m2 and muster roll, April 20, TNA E101/54/9 m1), from https://www.medievalsoldier.org [Note: York was reappointed Lieutenant of France by Henry VI in 1440 and, in 1441, chased the French down the Seine towards their siege of Pontoise though the French took Pointoise in September 1441; John de Vere had served as joint ambassador to France in 1439 and as Justice of the Peace in the counties of Essex, Hertford, and Cambridge]
1441
Richard Planté bought from Pierre de Vaux, the Guillauderie hotel and accommodation in the parish of Génac; in 1473 Richard's son Guillaume Plante had inherited further property at Génac [145 miles south of Angers, capital of Anjou, and 17 miles north of Angoulême, France] (source:gallica.bnf.fr/BnF)
1442
John atte Halle otherwise Plant of Burgh, Lincolnshire, witness to two deeds 13 April and 7 May (Close Rolls)
1443
William Plantes, goldsmith, Norman alien at Salisbury, Wiltshire (TNA E179/387/8 Part 1, mm. 3-5, m. 4, tax assessment, 2 January 1443) identified with 1441 similar record for William ?Plentowe (E179/196/105, m.2, tax assessment, 7 September 1441) https://www.englandsimmigrants.com/person/55714 - hence perhaps from Plante family at Pentlow in Essex, as in the above 1381 record
1445
John Plant junior in list of 98 notables in Macclesfield hundred, east Cheshire [1445 document here]
1446
John Plant, witness at Calvisson, Gard, France [around 30 miles east of Ganges in 1415 item above]
1453
William Langholme sued John Plante of Burgh in le Mersshe, husbandman and 4 others for debt, Lincolnshire, Common Pleas
1453
Edmund Plant drover of Hurdesfeld (between Macclesfield and Rainow, east Cheshire) sued for debt by Thomas Palmer of Leicestershire [document here]
For some associated source documents for Plant, including some continuing on later, see also here

Pallant

(In the 1881 Census map, there is a small cluster of the Plant surname in Suffolk that coincides with a cluster of Pallant in Plomesgate and Bosmere in Suffolk, raising the possibilty of a sometime past phonetic confusion between some of them)

1285
ate Palente John, Sussex, Assize Rolls
1296
de Palenta John, Sussex, Subsidy Rolls
1343
Plente John, messuage of land, vicar of the cathedral church of Chichester, Sussex, Patent Rolls

Plenty

1219
Radulphus Plente (Oxon) Et in operatione castri de Oxon' infra idem castrum xxiij li. et iij s. et iiij d. per breve R. et per visum Petri de Haliwell' et Radulfi Plente. Et in reparatione domorum R. extra villam lxv s. per breve R. et per visum eorundem. [3 Henry III Pipe Rolls]
1219
William Plente (Kent) Et de dim. m. de Willelmo Plente pro panno vendito contra assisam. [3 Henry III Pipe Rolls]
1230
Simon Plente (York) Et de dim. m. de Willelmo filio Ailredi et Simone Plente pro eodem. (By reference back to the preceding records eodem equates to dissaisina.) [14 Henry III Pipe Rolls]
1230-1
Radulphus Plente [ A cartulary of the Hospitals of St John the Baptist, ed H.E.Slater (1914) in Oxford Historical Society Publications 68, 202]
1272
Symon Plente [Feet Fines Oxf. in Oxfordshire Record Society: Record Series (Oxford, 1919-) 12, 200]
1272-84
William Plente (and then his widow Gerbergia) of Ormesby (Norfolk) --- charter for piece of land at Hemesby [Norwich Cathedral Charters]
1307
Robert Plente, witness of quitclaim, Exeter, Devon Record Office, 5714, M/T/4
1307-26
Matillide Plente, Bosham. [Register of Bishop Walter de Stapeldon of Exeter, concerning Clerks and Clergy of Cornwall and Devon, 1307-26, p 56]
1340
Alice Plente, tenement anf garden in Tavistock, Devon Record Office,482A/PF11 [W68/4]
1342
Plente Walter, Exeter co. Devon, Patent Rolls
1343
Plente John, messuage of land, vicar of the cathedral church of Chichester, Patent Rolls
1343
Plente John, witness at Theydene Boys on release of claim to lands in Theden Boys, Close Rolls
1345, 1346
acolite Walter Plente [Register of Bishop John de Trillek of Hereford, Clerks and Clergy of Herrefordshire, Shropshire and Gloucestershire, pp. 419, 431]
1348
At Prestbury, Walter, son of William Plente of Bishop's Castle [Register of Bishop John de Trillek of Hereford, p. 399]
1349
sub-deacon Walter son of John Plente; deacon Walter Plente [Register of Bishop John de Trillek of Hereford, pp. 486, 491]
1350
presbiter Walter Plente de Castro episc., ad ti. domus de Sandone [Register of Bishop John de Trillek of Hereford, p. 543]
1361
Roger Plente, witness of Charter of Feoffment, Exeter, Devon Record Office, 51/1/2/2
1364
Plente Roger of Exeter, license to take 20 packs of large cloth of divers colours from port of Exeter to Gascony, Spain, and other parts beyond seas; and to return with wine and other merchandise to the ports of London, Suthampton, Sandwich or Exeter, Patent Rolls
1364
Plente Roger, right to be collector of customs at Exeter, Fine Rolls
1364
Plente Roger, searcher of gold and silver exported without license in the county of Devon, assault on, Patent Rolls
1365
Plente Roger, merchant of Exeter, his ship 'le Ceorge' of Exmouth, Patent Rolls
1367
Plente Roger, king's minister in Devon, Patent Rolls
1368
Plente Roger, collector of customs in port of Exeter, Patent Rolls
1372
8th November, Roger Plente, mayor of Exeter, witness to lease, Devon Record Office, 51/1/2/5a-b
1386
30th April, ground formerly belonging to Roger Plente, Exeter, Devon Record Office, 51/1/3/5
1386
Plente Reynold, rights to yearly rent had been granted by William Botreaux, knight, the elder, Inquisition at Launceston Cornwall
1394
Pleyntif Richard, Somerset, Patent Rolls

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Other

1164
Geffrey Plante Genest's illegitimate son, Hamelyn, from Anjou, married Isabel de Warenne and inherited the earldom of Surrey with traditional lands in Norfolk etc. Hamelyn's offspring may have retained some cultural connection to the 'de la Planta' name from their ancestral home of Anjou, though surviving primary evidence for the early use of the Plant(a/e)genet name is sparse.
c.1180
Plantapeluda William, witness of Charter for land near Lodres Priory, Dorset, archived at Montebourg Abbey, Coutances [Calendar of Documents Preserved in France 918-1206]
1188-99
Plan' Roger de, Chester's Charters
1199
Radulphus Plantebene (Norfolk) [1 John Pipe Rolls]
1200
Radulphus Planteben' (Norfolk and Suffolk) [2 John Pipe Rolls]
1209
Plantefolie Gilbert, Leic', Curia Regis
1210
Plantefene Andrew, Inhabitants of Leicester (1103-1327).
1214
Planet' Susan de, Jelding' Kent, Curia Regis
1220
Plantan' William, Suff', Curia Regis [cf. here]
1221
Planetis Ralph de, Kent, Curia Regis
1226
Plantefolie John, Somerset, Curia Regis
1230
Planterose Robert, Warr' Wigorn', Curia Regis
1254
Plantin Roger, serjent of E. of Norfolk, Close Rolls [details here]
1258
Plantyn Roger, butler of E. of Norfolk, Close Rolls [details here]
1258
Plantyn Roger, lands in Norfolk, Patent Rolls [details here]
1263
Plauntefolie Maud, Weston', Close Rolls
1266
Plauntegenet Galfrido, serjent at arms, Wodestock, Close Rolls
1267
Ph'us filius Elye Plauntefolye, Nottingham. Fine Rolls
1268
Planteng' Roger, Norfolk, Close Rolls [details here]
1270
Plantefolie Adam, Welle Fanerwal' (co. York), Close Rolls
1275
Plantig' Roger, Haverstoe, Lindsey Riding, Lincolnshire, Rotuli Hundrederum [details here]
1279
Plantefolye Wills, Godington (2 miles east of Stratton Audley), Oxfordshire, Rotuli Hundrederum [details here]
1279
Plantcroft Marger', Papworth Hundred, Cambridgeshire, Rotuli Hundrederum [details here]
1285
Plauntain Henry, Buckinghamshire, Patent Rolls [details here]
1310
Johannes Planterose [Two Bedfordshire subsidy listings ed S.H.A.Hervey (1925) Suffolk Green Books 18 87]
1341
le Plaunter Henry, Cambridge-Huntingdon border dispute, Patent Rolls

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Some Alpine context and some background of the earldom of Chester and Lincoln

It is misleading to place too much emphasis on any one isolated record for the medieval Plant name. However, the following is an attempt to outline some of the less obvious general context for some of the available records. A narrower account of a more specific context for almost all of the early Plant records, from France into England, is given by the Longspée-Audley hypothesis.

There are some indications of a French, or still earlier Alpine, context to the name. In the Swiss Alps, Zuoz was the site of the Stammhaus, or original castle of the family of Planta, who as far back as 1139, in the times of Geffrey Plante Genest (1113-51), held the Engadine in feof. An early known Plant record, in 1202, in Anjou in western France, can be related to the feuding of Arthur of Brittany and his uncle King John, grandson of Count Geffrey Plante Genest (Plantagenet) of Anjou. It is unclear that early Plant records in Angevin France and Normandy (in 1202, and 1273) were influenced by the noble Planta family, whose hegemony in the Upper Engadine is confirmed in the 1244 record listed above. Also in the Alps, Verbier Castle was probably built in the twelfth century and belonged to the Duchy of Savoy though it was largely destroyed in the Battle of La Planta in 1475.

In England, a Savoyard influence became important in the mid thirteenth century after the 1236 marriage of King John's son, Henry III, to Eleanor of Provence whose uncle, Peter of Savoy, had been granted lands in England by 1240. Peter was appointed guardian of Warenne lands, for example, including the Manor of Boston in south Lincolnshire and the Honour of Lewes in Sussex. An early instance of the Plant name in England, in 1279, indicates that the Plante name was hereditary, apparently for three generations, at Burgh near Boston; and, around 1280, a Plonte is described as 'once bailif of Marsfelde', though that was probably the Marshfield in Goucestershire rather than the one near Lewes. Alpine Savoyard origins might also be associated with the 1301 record of the industrious Richard Plant in Flintshire, who might be set in the context of a Savoyard master mason who, in 1280-82, oversaw, on behalf of Henry III's son, King Edward I, the building of Flint Castle across the river Dee from Chester; this castle was partly rebuilt after a Welsh attack in 1294. Later, the 1350 mention of the London priest Henry Plante of Risole evidently refers to Risoul in the French Alps.

More especially, there might have been associations of the Plant name with traditions ensuing from the earlier English earldom of Chester and Lincoln. As already indicated, the earliest known evidence that the Plant name was hereditary in England is the listed 1279 Plante record for Burgh in Lincolnshire, which suggests that the Plante name had been hereditary for one or two generations previously. A 1344 Plant record for Burgh Marsh indicates that the family was still there some time later. Burgh-le-marsh in Lincolshire is about 16 miles from Boston and 9 miles from Bolingbroke Castle which had been built by Randulf de Blundeville, earl of Chester, and earl of Lincoln from 1217, who also held Huntingdon, which is the location of the de Plantes listed record dated 1282. In 1189, Ranulph had married Countess Constance of Brittany, the widowed daughter-in-law of Geffrey Plante Genest; and, in 1214, he had founded Dieulacres Abbey, near Leek, to relocate the community of Poulton Abbey to the other side of Cheshire, safer from attacks from the Welsh. In 1237, the earldom was annexed by the crown. The Black Prince, eldest son of Edward III, was buying wool from Dieulacres in 1347 and the Abbey owned land near Macclesfield, the location of the Prince's stud farm. Subsequently, there is evidence that the hereditary Plant surname was established in its main homeland, around both Macclesfield and Dieulacres, astride the Cheshire-Staffordshire border, as evidenced in the listed Plont(e) records of 1360-1, 1373, 1379, 1381, 1383-84, 1395, and 1406 and recounted in detail for the main Plant family under 1360 onwards.

John of Gaunt, another son of Edward III, acquired Bolingbroke Castle in south Lincolnshire and lived there during the 1360s and 1370s. In 1394, a sexagenerian John Plaint appeared as a witness at Lincoln in connection with a legitimate issue of John of Gaunt's mistress. The Angevin Warennes, descendants of count Geffrey Plante Genest, had by then relocated their main base to Poynton in east Cheshire, near Macclesfield in the main subsequent Plant homeland. The 1352 Plant record can be tentatively associated with this relocation to east Cheshire from the Warenne's Hundred in Norfolk. Migration to the south from around the east Cheshire and NE Staffordshire boundary might have related partly to the fact that Dieulacres Abbey was a major landholder in noth Staffordshire; and, as indicated by the listed 1382 Plonte record, the maintenance of these land-holding rights attracted more attention than might be imagined from a more usual view of religious duties for the eleven monks in 1381 at Dieulacres.

How any of this relates to the modern Plant surname is a matter for conjecture and ongoing investigation, except to say that there was an early secondary cluster of the Plant name around Bolingbroke in south Lincolnshire, with the main cluster of the name persisting around Dieulacres, in Leek parish, at the northernmost tip of Staffordshire, just over the border from east Cheshire. This is described further elsewhere on this web site.

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