This rare and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a variant form of either the locational surname deriving from the place called Dungate near Sittingbourne in Kent, or of the topographical surname Dungate, which is peculiar to the south-eastern counties of England, chiefly Kent and Sussex. The placename refers to a locality rather than to a settlement, and is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "dun", hill, down, with "geat, gaet", gate, gap, used here to mean a natural gap in the north Downs of Kent. Locational surnames were used particularly as a means of identification by those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. As a topographical surname, Dengate and its variant forms Dungate, Downgate and Dingate, were used to refer to someone who lived in or by such a gap in the downs. The surname development has included the following examples: William Downgate (1546, Sussex); Joan Dongate (1553, Kent); Agnes Downgate (1559, Sussex); Edward Dungat (1560, ibid.); and Daniell Dingett (1580, Devonshire). Among the recordings of the name in Church Registers are those of the marriage of Edward Dengate and Elizabeth Ketchlow, on May 26th 1668, at Dallington in Sussex, and the marriage of Mary Dengate and William Brabau, in Leigh, Kent, on July 1st 1695. The Dengate Coat of Arms is blazoned as follows: Per bend embattled sable and argent (black and silver). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Downgat, which was dated December 12th 1543, witness to the christening of his daughter, Margarett, in Horsham, Sussex, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1507 - 1547. 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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