This very rare and interesting name is of Flemish origin, and was introduced into England in the mid 17th Century by refugee Flemish and French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution on the Continent. There were two major influxes of Huguenot refugees; at the end of the 16th Century and again in the mid to late 17th Century, and many of our modern British surnames are adaptations of French or Flemish names, brought over at those times. In this instance, the original name was 'Plue' or 'Pleu', first recorded in Flanders (Belgium) in the form of the christening of one Maria de Pleu, on January 26th 1613, in Liege. The first recording in England is in London, as below. The name is a metonymic occupational surname for a ploughman or a plough-wright, derived from the Low German, Flemish 'ploeg, ploge, pluy', plough. The name is also found in Scotland, where the extra 'l' of the variant form 'Pllu' first appears: The marriage of Cochrane Plue and Isabella Muller is recorded in December 1859 at Ardrossan, Ayrshire, and the birth of their daughter in 1860, as 'Pllue'. One William Pllu married Margaret Blair in September 1860, in Irvine, Ayrshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Raphell Plue (marriage to Ellin Holfoote), which was dated June 23rd 1650, St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London, during the reign of The Commonwealth in England: Oliver Cromwell, 'The Great Protector', 1649-1658. 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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