Recorded as Eastgate, and the dialectals Esgate, Isgate, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is medieval, and residential or occupational. If residential it derives either from one of the villages called Eastgate in County Durham, Lincolnshire or Norfolk, or in ancient times from the fact that the nameholder lived by, or more probably was responsible for, the operation of the 'Eastgate' of a particular town or city. This was specifically the case when the place concerned was 'walled', or where local taxes or tolls were levied upon goods entering or leaving the place concerned. Curiously the village names do not refer to 'gates' in the modern context, but to the Danish 'geat' meaning a road. This can be seen in the street names of the city of York such as Gillygate or Goodramgate, whilst the actual physical gates to the city are known as 'bars', as in Monk Bar or Bootham Bar. The early surname recordings are all from the East Anglian counties of Lincoln and Norfolk, suggesting that they are derived directly from the village names. In the Middle Ages, and upto the 18th century, both cities of Lincoln and Norwich had an 'Eastgate' when they were walled, so there is an element of doubt. What is certain is that in the famous Hundred Rolls for the county of Norfolk in 1273 appears the recording of Andreas de Estgate, whilst in the same year but in the different county of Lincoln we have the recording of Geoffrey de Esgat. This was in the first year of the reign of King Edward 1st, known as 'The Hammer of the Scots' 1272 - 1307.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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