Plass History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Plass family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived in south-eastern counties of England. "More probably from a ' place,' or mansion. What is called in other shires a hall, or a court, is frequently known in the south-eastern counties as a ' place.' e.g.: Brasted Place, co. Kent, Wakehurst Place, co. Sussex, Crowhurst Place, co. Surrey." [1]

However, the name is also a reference to Plaise, Normandy, the where the family lived prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The family is "armorially identified with Plaiz, or De Plessetis, a Norman baronial family." [2]

This name can be traced to the Old French word plais, which meant an enclosure or coppice surrounded by a fence of living wood.

Early Origins of the Plass family

The surname Plass was first found in Norfolk where "the noble family of De Playz were,' says Blomfield, in his History of Norfolk' soon after the Conquest, enfeoffed of several lordships by the Earl Warren.' Ralph de Playz witnesses a charter of William, second Earl 1091-97, granting the church of Coningsburgh, in South Yorkshire, to the monastery that his father had founded at Lewes. 'Sir Hugh was Lord in the time of King Stephen,' and was succeeded by a second Ralph. 'The family of De Playz had a considerable estate in Otringhythe and in the reign of King Henry II. there was a church concerning the patronage of which there was a great controversy between Sir Ralph de Playz and others, which was adjusted by the Bishop of Norwich, when it was allowed to be the right of the said Ralph, and his heirs for ever, to present to the same.' Among the adherents of the rebellious barons under King John we find another Sir Hugh, who held seven knight's fees at Ifford and Werpesburn in Sussex, and was twice married. From his first wife, Beatrix de Say, widow of Hugh de Nevill, he was divorced; but the second, Philippa, one of the co-heiresses of Richard de Montfichet, brought him a great estate in Essex, where the manor of Play; in Beacontree hundred, and the hamlet of Plaistow, near Stratford, are named from him. His great-grandson Giles was summoned to a great council held by Edward I. in 1293, followed him to Gascony in the ensuing year, and was a Baron by writ in 1297. Sir Richard, the grandson of Giles, was, in 1334, found heir to Stansted Montfichet on the death of John de Lancaster ; and the next heir, Sir John, called the fourth baron (though neither he not his predecessor were ever summoned to parliament) was the father of Margery, the heiress of the house, who carried the barony to the Howards." [3]

Another source notes the family can be found in various counties throughout ancient Britain as the name "is derived from a geographical locality. 'at the place.' " [4]

William de la Place who was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. Later, Kirby's Quest listed John atte Place in Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of Edward III.) [5]

Early History of the Plass family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Plass research. Another 85 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1647, 1728, 1665, 1771 and 1854 are included under the topic Early Plass History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Plass Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Place, Plaice, Plaiz, Plaise, Playse, Playses and many more.

Early Notables of the Plass family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Francis Place (1647-1728), English amateur artist, was fifth son of Rowland Place of Dinsdale, co. Durham. He was articled as a lawyer but due to Great Plague...
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Plass Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Plass migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Plass or a variant listed above were:

Plass Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Johann Wolfgang Plass, who arrived in America in 1783 [6]


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  6. ^ 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)


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