This is a surname which is most famous in Ireland, came from England, but is ultimately of French origins. Spelt as Plunkett and sometimes Plunket, it is believed to be a dialectal distortion of 'blanchet', meaning white, and hence a nickname surname. Introduced into Ireland after the Anglo-Norman Invasion of the country in 1170, and according to the Ireland's most prominent etymologist, the late Edward MacLysaght, (quote) 'the name is not found anywhere except in the case of exiles of Irish stock'. We have some doubts about this statement as the surname is recorded in London church registers at least as far back as the 16th century, which may be rather early for 'imported' names. On the other hand from the 12th century the nameholders were prominent in Irish affairs, in 1316 for instance Thomas Plunkett of County Louth was the Chief Justice. However the main fame for the family was that unlike perhaps the majority of Anglo-Irish families, from the earliest days they showed themselves to place the future of Ireland before any English asperations. Mostly they retained the old religion, one of the greatest Irishmen of all time being St Oliver Plunkett, (1629- 1681) the Archbishop of Armagh, who paid for his endevours on a scaffold in London. Later nameholders of distinction include Sir Horace Plunkett, (1854 - 1932) the first baron Plunkett, Chancellor of Ireland, and founder of the cooperative moverment in Ireland, whilst Joseph Plunkett, signed the Republican proclamation of 1916 and paid for this with his life.
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