This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and was originally given either as a metonymic occupational name to a keeper of the floodgate, or a topographical name to one resident by such a gate. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "flod(e)", flood, channel, with "gaet", gate, or specifically, a natural opening in a sea wall. This latter sense is understood in Margate and Westgate on Sea, Kent. Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Topographical features, whether natural or man-made, provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages, and consequently gave rise to several surnames. Early examples of the surname include: William Fludgate (London, 1406). A quotation from historical notes on Norfolk, dated 1405, reads, "Margaret, daughter of John Durham in Norfolk, released to Ralph Somerton all her rights in Begviles manor, and in a marsh called Floodgates". In the modern idiom the name is spelt: Fladgate, Fludgate, and Floodgate. On January 27th 1610, Justinian Fludgate and Alce Moore were married at All Saints, Wadsworth, London, and on October 16th 1681, Henry, son of Henry and Elizabeth Floodgate, was christened at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter atte Flodgate, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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