This interesting and unusual name has two possible origins, both Norman (French), and introduced into Britain after the Conquest of 1066. Firstly, the modern surname "Gage", "Guage", "Gages" and "Gaiger" may be a metonymic occupational name for an assayer, someone employed as an official in charge of checking weights and measures, a measurer or tester. The derivation of this interpretation of the name is from the Old French and Middle English "gage, gauge", measure, a word thought to be ultimately of Germanic origin. Secondly, the modern surname can also be a metonymic occupational name for a moneylender or usurer, derived from the Old French and Middle English "gage", pledge, surety against which money was lent. The word is also of Germanic origin, but thought to be unrelated to the sense of "fixed measure". One Joseph Gage was sentenced to be transported to "Barbados or Jamaica" as a slave after his part in the ill-fated Monmouth Rebellion of 1685 and was shipped from Dorchester Gaol in December of that year. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alice Gage, which was dated 1310, in the "Court Rolls of the Borough of Colchester", Essex, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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