Recorded in a very wide range of spellings including Eat, Eate, Eates, Gate, Gayte, Gates, Jett, Jette, Jettes, Yat, Yate, Yeates, Yeats, Yet, Yett, Yette, Yettes, Yott, Yotte, and probably others, this is an English surname of ancient origins. It is recorded in one spelling or another in most English counties, but is mainly associated with the West Country. The origination can be topographical and describe one who lived or worked by a prominent 'geat.' This can have the dual meaning of a gate or a street. The streets of the city of York are known as 'gates,' whilst the actual gates are 'bars'. The name can also be locational for someone who came from the town of Yate, near Bristol. The name is first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Charters of 779 a.d. as 'aet Gete', and the later surnames are a 'fused' or slang form in their spelling. These usually date from the 12th century and the earliest recordings include those of Philip del Yate in the pipe rolls of Cheshire for the year 1260, and Robert atte Yates in the Assize Rolls of Norfolk in 1344. Later examples include John Yette at St Margarets Westminster, on March 27th 1569, and Richard Eate at the church of St Katharine by the Tower (of London), on July 6th 6121. 'Mr Yates' is recorded in the records of 'Elizabeth Cittie, Virginea' in February 1624, making him one of the earliest settlers to the American Colonies. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hereward de Jette. This was dated 1198, in the Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire, during the reign of King Richard 1st of England,and known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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