Like the surnames Finch and Goldfinch as examples, this is a medieval nickname surname. It originates from the Plover bird or Plouvier in French, and probably describes either a person who wore colourful dress particularly green, or is possibly a metonymic for a maker or supplier of coloured fabrics and jewelry. There are a number of different species of plover, and the sea bird variety are also known for their piratical habits, so it is possible that the name was one given to one who may have been anti-social in his (or sometimes her), behaviour. It is also probable that the surname was first used in England as early as the 14th century, but whether it was an introduction from France at that time, or whether it was 'home bred' is not known. What the early surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London do show is that as Plover it was recorded in Elizabethan times, an example being that of Thomas, the son of John Plover, who was christened at St Stephens church, Coleman Street, on May 22nd 1602. However very shortly afterwards the name is recorded as a French and Huguenot protestant refugee surname, when Adam Plouvier, the son of Luc Plouvier, was christened at the French Church, Threadneedle Street, in the city of London, on January 12th 1612. Thereafter throughout the 17th century there was a steady listing in the registers of new Huguenot 'Plouviers' and 'Pluuviers', from France. As a result of the anti-French feelings which continued until the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, and hence the need for 'political correctness', the spellings were nearly all anglicized to the spelling of Plover, by that date.
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