This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from any one of the various places called Plaistow, situated in Derbyshire, near Crich; in Essex (North London); in Kent, near Bromley; and in Sussex, north of Petworth. The place in Derbyshire is recorded as "Plaustowe" and "Plagestoue" in the Darley Charters of 1200, while Plaistow in Essex appears as "Playstowe" in the 1414 Patent Rolls of the county. All the places share the same meaning and derivation, which is "the playground, or sportsground", from the Olde English "plegestow", a compound of "pleg(e)", play, from the verb "plegan, plaegian", to play, sport, with "stow", place, ground, often in the sense of a meeting-place or community area. Several of the places called Plaistow are in or near a large open space in the middle of the village. Early examples of the surname include William de la Pleystowe (1275, Wiltshire), and Cristian atte Pleystouwe (1296, Sussex), while the modern forms are Plaistow(e), Plaister, Plastow, Plaster and Plester. The christening of Edward, son of Darke Plaistowe, was recorded at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London, on March 30th 1600. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name depicts a silver lion rampant between two gold cotises on a red shield, the Crest being a griffin's head proper out of a gold ducal coronet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Plegestone, which was dated 1168, in the "Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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