This interesting surname has three distinct possible origins, the first and most likely source being the medieval male given name "Bate", itself a petform of "Bartholomew", from the Aramaic patronymic "bar-Talmay" meaning "abounding in furrows" or "rich in lands". One Bate le Tackman was recorded in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire. The name may also be occupational for a boatman, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bat" (Northern Middle English "bat"), a boat. A Herbert Bat was noted in the 1182 Pipe Rolls of Shropshire. Finally, the Old Norse "bati", profit or gain, used in the transferred sense of "lush pasture" may have given rise to the surname. Early examples from this topographical source are Thomas del Bate (Yorkshire, 1297). The final "s" in the name indicates the patronymic form, "son of Bate". One Matilda Battes, appears in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire. In April 1635, Clement Bates, a tailor, aged 40 yrs., along with his wife, Ann, his five children James, Clement, Rachell, Joseph and Ben, and his two servants, departed from the port of London bound for New England, aboard the "Elizabeth". These were some of the earliest settlers of the name in the New World. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Bate, which was dated 1275, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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