Recorded in a wide range of spellings as shown below, this is an English surname with a French origin, or in a few cases a Welsh surname. There is a suggestion that if Welsh it derives from an amalgamation of the medieval elements "Ap" meaning son of, and equivalent to the Scottish and Irish "Mac", and the given name "Lewis" to create the son of Lewis, or Plews, Plows, Plues etc. Many Welsh surnames have followed a similar pattern so it is probable that some nameholders may derive from such a source. The famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley interviewed a member of the Plews family in 1880, and was told by him that the name was created by one Thomas Plews, at his marriage at St Georges chapel, Hanover Square, London, in 1792. However this is not so, the name in all its wonderful variety of spellings such as Place, Plaice, Please, Pleas, Plowes, Plows, Plose, Pluess, Pluse, Plush, and many more, had been around for many centuries before that date. In our opinion it originates either from the French word "ploue" meaning a countryman, an example of the recordings being Pierre Plus, recorded at Threadneedle Street French Huguenot church, in the city of London, on August 5th 1677, or more likely from the French "pleix", the medieval English "place", meaning an enclosure or house. Examples of early recordings from this source include Emma del Place in Cumberland in 1332, and William Plaice of Whitby in Yorkshire in the year 1346. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Plaiz. This was dated 1192, in the pipe rolls of the city of York, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "Lion-heart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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