The little town of Plumstead in the county of Kent holds the origin of this English surname. It is medieval in origin, and 13th century. As such it was right at the begining of the surname period. Before this date such "sir-names" as existed were given or held either by senior churchmen or more usually by the nobility. In this case the first nameholder there is some confusion as the name is recorded well away from its native Kent. Nethertheless this first recording refers to a member of the landed gentry, although whether he or his successors had claim to the manor of Plumstead is not known. It is probable that many of the modern nameholders do descend from this man. Alternatively from the 15th century surnames were granted to people after they left their original village and moved elsewhere. "Elsewhere" could be the next village or town, and the easiest method of identification was call the newcomer by the name of their original village. The name "Plumstead" means "the place where plums grow", and as "Plumstede" it is first recorded in the charters of the county of Kent in the year 961. The earliest recordings include William de Plumstede in the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk in 1273, whilst later Eliza Plumstead was married at St Georges Chapel, Hanover Square, London, in 1762. The first recording of the name anywhere in the world is believed to be that of Simon de Plumpstede, in the charters of the county of Norfolk, in 1205. This was during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216.
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