Pleace History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Pleace reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Pleace family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Pleace family 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 Pleace family

The surname Pleace 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 Pleace family

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

Pleace Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Place, Plaice, Plaiz, Plaise, Playse, Playses and many more.

Early Notables of the Pleace 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 Pleace Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Pleace family

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Pleace name or one of its variants: John Place settled in Barbados in 1634; James Place settled in Virginia in 1636; Steven Plaice settled in Barbados in 1654; Thomas Plaice settled in Pennsylvania in 1682.



  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.


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