Plunket History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish already had a system for creating hereditary surnames established when the followers of Strongbow settled in eastern Ireland. Although there was relatively little friction between the two systems because they operated according to very similar principles, the Strongbownians frequently used local surnames. In Ireland, local surnames were almost unheard of, but in England they were probably the most common form of hereditary surname. Local surnames, such as Plunket, were taken from the name of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born.

The surname Plunket is derived from living in the settlement of Plouquenet in Ille-et-Vilaine in France. The surname Plunket belongs to the large category of Anglo-Norman habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Some sources indicated that the surname Plunket is a corruption of the Old French word blanchet, which means white. The Gaelic form of the surname Plunket is Pluincéid.

Early Origins of the Plunket family

The surname Plunket was first found in County Louth (Irish: Lú) the smallest county in Ireland, located on the East coast, in the Province of Leinster, where they were granted lands when they accompanied Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, in the invasion of Ireland.

"A nephew of Lord Plugenet [in England] founded the family still existing in Ireland, though their pedigree declares that they are of Danish origin, and were seated at Bewley (Beaulieu) in co. Louth as early as the eleventh century. " [1]

"The younger branch was the more distinguished of the two. 'These 'Plunkets in Ireland,' says Camden, ' have been very eminent ever since Christopher Plunket (a person of great valour and wisdom who was deputy to Richard Duke of York, Viceroy in Henry VI. time) was raised to the dignity of Baron of Killin, which came to him by his wife, as heir to the family of the Cusacks.' Sir Christopher was Sheriff of Meath prior to 1442, and had married the only child of Sir Lucas de Cusack, Lord of Killeen, Dunsany, and Gerardstown in that county. All his three sons founded families. The eldest was the ancestor of the Earls of Fingall ; the second, Sir Christopher, was the first Lord Dunsany ; and the third, Sir Thomas, had to wife the heiress of Rathmore, which remained the home of his descendants. His son Sir Alexander 'a person of great account,' was appointed Chancellor of Ireland in 1492." [1]

Early History of the Plunket family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Plunket research. Another 114 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1182, 1410, 1463, 1503, 1492, 1555, 1649, 1668, 1445, 1461, 1602, 1680, 1644, 1629, 1681 and 1920 are included under the topic Early Plunket History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Plunket Spelling Variations

It was found during an investigation of the origins of the name Plunket that church officials and medieval scribes often spelled the name as it sounded. This practice lead to a single person's being documented under many spelling variations. The name Plunket has existed in the various shapes: Plunkett, Plunket, Plunkitt, Plunkit, Plunked, Plunkedd, Plunkidd and many more.

Early Notables of the Plunket family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Sir Christopher Plunkett, 1st Baron of Dunsany (1410-1463); Alexander Plunket (died 1503), appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland by King Henry VII of England in 1492; Oliver Plunkett, 1st Baron Louth (d. c. 1555), an Irish peer; and Christopher Plunkett, 2nd Earl of Fingall (died 1649). Patrick Plunket (died 1668), was 9th Baron of Dunsany, co. Meath. An ancestor, Sir Christopher Plunket (d. 1445), was active in the Irish wars during the early part of the fifteenth century, and is said to have been deputy to...
Another 92 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Plunket Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Plunket migration to the United States +

Irish immigration to North American began in the late 18th century as many Irish families desired to own their own land. This pattern of immigration grew slowly yet steadily until the 1840s. At that time, a failed crop and a growing population in Ireland resulted in the Great Potato Famine. Poverty, disease, and starvation ravaged the land. To ease their pain and suffering the Irish often looked upon North America as a solution: hundreds of thousands undertook the voyage. Their arrival meant the growth of industry and commerce for British North America and the United States. For the individual Irishman, it meant survival and hope, and the opportunity for work, freedom, and ownership of land. The early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Plunket:

Plunket Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Plunket, who landed in Virginia in 1655 [2]
Plunket Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Ellinor Plunket, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [2]
Plunket Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Oliver Plunket, who landed in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1804 [2]
  • Oliver Plunket, who settled in Wilmington North Carolina in 1804
  • Margaret Plunket, aged 20, who arrived in New York in 1854 [2]
  • James, Bernard, John, Patrick, Phillip, and Thomas Plunket, who all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860

Canada Plunket migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Plunket Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Peter Plunket, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1831

Australia Plunket migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Plunket Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Bridget Plunket, aged 32, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Florentia" [3]
  • Bridget Plunket, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Florentia" in 1849 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Plunket (post 1700) +

  • Thomas J. Plunket, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1948; Chair of Ulster County Democratic Party, 1955 [4]
  • Thomas Plunket (1716-1779), Baron Plunket of the Holy Roman Empire, Irish general in the service of Austria, a kinsman of Lord Dunsany
  • Alexander Plunket, appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland by King Henry VII of England in 1492
  • Katherine Plunket (1820-1932), Irish aristocrat from County Louth, a prolific botanical artist
  • Thomas Span Plunket (1792-1866), 2nd Baron Plunket, Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achon
  • William Conyngham Plunket (1764-1854), 1st Baron Plunket, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Whig MP for Dublin University
  • Sean Plunket, New Zealand broadcast journalist
  • Thomas Plunket (d. 1851), Irish soldier in the British army
  • William Lee Plunket (1864-1920), 5th Baron Plunket, Governor of New Zealand
  • Harry Plunket Greene (1865-1936), Irish baritone singer


The Plunket Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Festina lente
Motto Translation: Be quick without impetuosity.


  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FLORENTIA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Florentia.htm
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 29) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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