This surname of PLOURDE was an occupational name 'the ploughwright' a maker of ploughs. It was a familiar entry in medieval documents. The name is also spelt PLOUGHWRIGHT, PLOUGH, PLOWDE and PLOWRIGHT. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Early records of the name mention William le Plowritte, who was documented in County Cambridge in the year 1273. William le Ploughwyte was recorded in County Cambridge in 1307. Thomas Plogwryght of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name. A later instance of the name mentions Thomas Lloyd and Mary Plowright who were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1778.
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