This is an Anglo-French surname of two possible origins. The first is locational from the villages of Burgate in Hampshire, Suffolk and Surrey. These villages all have the same meaning of 'the castle gate' from the Olde English pre 7th century 'burg-geat', and it is therefore equally possible that some nameholders do not derive from the villages but from residence at a 'burg-geat' anywhere in the country. To some extent this is born out by the early recordings which are far away from any regular village source, but on the other hand residential surnames were often granted to a person after they moved elsewhere, the name of their former home providing an easy method of identification.Recorded in the spellings forms of Burgett, Burgot, Bygott, Burgott, Berget and Bourget, the latter two versions particularly seem to have a French source, the name also being recorded in France in those spellings. The meaning in France is given as patronymic and translating as 'Little Berg', with 'Berg' being a pre 10th century personal name. Early examples of the surname recording include Ralph atte Burgate in the 1260 Assize Rolls of Cambridge, Robert de Burhtzate of Gloucester in 1274, and Ingrame atte Burghzete of Somerset in the year 1333. The coat of arms granted in France has the blazon of a silver field, a blue fesse between three crescents. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Absalon de Burgate, which was dated 1198 in the pipe rolls of the county of Kent, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as 'The Lionheart', 1189 - 1199. 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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