This interesting surname with variant spellings Pleasance, Pleasaunce, Pleasants, Pleasant, etc. derives from the medieval female given name plaisance meaning "Pleasantness", regarded as a specifically feminine form of the much rarer Plaisant (present participle of the Old French "plaire", from the Latin "placere", "to please"). Secondly, it may be a locational name from the North Italian city of Piacenza, so called from the Latin Placentia. The surname dates back to the late 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one John de Plesaunce of Lumbardy (1314), "The Subsidy Rolls of London", and John de Plesancia of Lumbary (1339) "Calendar of Pleas and Memoranda Rolls preserved among the city of London". London church recordings include one Frances Pleasants who married George Neguse on January 26th 1685, in London, and Margaret, daughter of Samuel and Susannah Pleasants, was christened on June 8th 1690, at St. Mary's, Whitechapel, Stepney. One Thomas Pleasants (1728-1818), was a philanthropist. He was a gentleman of affluence who made many large contributions to philanthropic institutions in Dublin. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald de Plesence, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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