Recorded in the spellings of Applegate, Applegarth and Applegath, this is an English locational surname. It originates from the villages of Applegarth found in East Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Cumberland, or from residence by an apple orchard. The derivation is from the pre 7th century Olde Norse-Viking "apladr-garor", the villages all being in areas under Viking control from the 7th to the 11th centuries a.d. Locational surnames were by their nature given either to the lord of the manor and his descendanmts, or to former villagers who moved to an other area. It was in medieval times, and to some extent it remains so today, that the easiest form of identification for a "stranger" is to call him or her by the name of the place from whence they came. The earliest of all recordings is that of William de Apelgart, in the register of the abbey of St Edmunds, Suffolk, about as far away as he could get from his original home. Later recordings which almost certainly relate to the lord of the manor include those of Robert Applegarth, in the Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire in the year 1279, whilst Richard de Appelgarthe is recorded in the 1279 accounts of the Duchy of Cornwall, again in Yorkshire. It is not clear when the spelling as Applegate is first recorded, however an example is that of Robert Applegate who married Mary Crouch at St George's Chapel, Hanover Square, London, in the year 1760.
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