This interesting and famous Scottish surname is of locational origin, from the lands of Plenderleith in the parish of Oxnam, in Roxburghshire, Scotland. The placename itself probably derives from the Old British "pren", timber, and "dre", farm, plus an uncertain final element, possibly a river name, from the Gaelic "lite", wet, and Welsh "llaith", damp, moist. The surname, which is also found as "Plenderleath" in the modern idiom, is first recorded in the late 12th Century (see below). During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, which resulted in a wide dispersal of the name. Other early examples include: Nicholas de Prendrelath, who held the manor of Gilbert de Humfrenvil in "socage" in 1291; William de Prendrelathe of the county of Roxburgh, who rendered homage in 1296; Rev. Patrick Plenderleith (1679 - 1715), a minister of Saline in Fife; and one John Plenderleith, provost of Peebles and member of parliament for that burgh in 1669 - 1670. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Plenderleith, which was dated circa 1175, a charter witness in Teviotdale, Scotland, during the reign of King William "The Lion" of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. 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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