Plonkett 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 Plonkett, were taken from the name of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born.

The surname Plonkett is derived from living in the settlement of Plouquenet in Ille-et-Vilaine in France. The surname Plonkett 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 Plonkett is a corruption of the Old French word blanchet, which means white. The Gaelic form of the surname Plonkett is Pluincéid.

Early Origins of the Plonkett family

The surname Plonkett 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.

"Little of certainty is to be gathered concerning this name before its appearance in Ireland. So early, however, as the 11th century, we find John Plukenet seated at Beaulieu, co. Meath : and from him springs the distinguished Irish families of the name, ennobled under the titles of Fingall Dunsany, and Louth." [1]

"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. " [2]

"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." [2]

Early History of the Plonkett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Plonkett 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 Plonkett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Plonkett Spelling Variations

A single person's name was often spelt simply as it sounded by medieval scribes and church officials. An investigation into the specific origins the name Plonkett has revealed that such a practice has resulted in many spelling variations over the years. A few of its variants include: Plunkett, Plunket, Plunkitt, Plunkit, Plunked, Plunkedd, Plunkidd and many more.

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

Migration of the Plonkett family

In the 1840s, Ireland experienced a mass exodus to North America due to the Great Potato Famine. These families wanted to escape from hunger and disease that was ravaging their homeland. With the promise of work, freedom and land overseas, the Irish looked upon British North America and the United States as a means of hope and prosperity. Those that survived the journey were able to achieve this through much hard work and perseverance. Early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Plonkett: James Plunkett, who came to Virginia in 1655; Oliver Plunket, who settled in Wilmington N.C. in 1804; James, Bernard, John, Patrick, Phillip, Thomas Plunket, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.



The Plonkett 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. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ 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


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