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The Plant Millennium Reunion (1999)

Keith and Mavis Plant

W. Keith Plant was at that time the active Group President and he and his wife Mavis were amongst those welcoming visitors from widespread parts of the world to the Plant Millennium Reunion at the Village Hall near Chelford in Cheshire, UK.

Though some of us were already active on the internet, it has since become more commonplace to interact through such a means as the Plant Facebook Group.

The day included a coach tour of the surrounding countryside, which appears to have been the principal homeland of the Plants from c1360-1680. There was also a presentation on the medieval Origins of the Plant Name by Dr John S. Plant of nearby Keele University. This is outlined by the Slides of this Presentation which has led on to further developments in such articles as John S Plant (1999-onwards), Roots and Branches, Issue Number 18 onwards [see update below].
John Plant

Update on slides of the talk

It should be added that evidence for the Plantagenet name, when the Plant surname was forming, is sparse. The term 'Plantagenet child' was used in the talk [and included in the slides] to indicate a child in the context of the Angevin ('Plantagenet') nobility. There is some evidence of proximities of early Plant records to the noble descendants of Geffrey Plante Genest of Anjou. These descendants included the 'Plantagenet' kings of England; but, the nineteenth-century claim that the Plants were royal Plantagenet decendants is debunked elsewhere on this web-site. The talk concluded by suggesting a possible hypothesis whereby the Plants could have been assorted auxiliaries, particularly in the context of 'Plantagenet' campaigns against the Welsh.

Perhaps the biggest development since the talk is that Y-DNA evidence for the Plants started to be obtained in 2002. This was first taken to indicate possibly that they could have been many polygynous children forming mostly a large single family. That placed more emphasis on the Welsh Marches meaning 'children' than a more general 'establisher' sense of to plant. The more general 'establisher' sense, listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, was highlighted in the talk as it might have been appropriate to the 'colonising' of Wales by 'auxiliaries'. More directly however, planta means 'to procreate' in Welsh.

The DNA evidence brought to the fore ideas of male line relatedness and perhaps a large number of early bastards; and, a suggested meaning '[many] children' of Plant could be seen as an implicit patronymic of some unspecified forefather. It then becomes natural to wonder who that forefather might have been. However, it is important to stress that there is no direct evidence of a blood relationship of the large Plant family to anyone in the 'Plantagenet' royal family. The Plants are found mainly near the Welsh Marches and no genetic connection has been established to a distant, earlier landholder called de la Planta in the 'Plantagenet' homeland of Anjou, let alone to the forefather there of the 'Plantagenet' kings, Geffrey Plante Genest, himself. That is not to say that it has been ruled out that the early Plant fathers could have been part of a cultural affinity to that Angevin regime.

Moving on to still more recent developments, analyses of further Y-DNA data and access through the internet to further relevant medieval documentation has suggested that another idea, in a book from the early twentieth century, should not be ignored - to wit, the meaning from the enclosure. This can be considered as being able to supercede the mid-twentieth supposition gardener as well as a possible Plantagenet connection, in as much some enclosures might relate to gardens whilst another can be associated with the main Plant family's earliest known origins, which were in a fourteenth-century Plantagenet context, as has been updated elsewhere on this website.

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