This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an occupational surname with two possible meanings. The first of these is derived from the Old English pre 7th Century "gatu, geat", gate(s), and "weard", guardian, to make an occupational name for a gatekeeper. Secondly, the surname Gatward can be an occupational name for a goatherd, "goat-ward", derived from the Old English "gat", goat, with "weard", guardian. The medieval gatekeeper might have been the porter at a monastery, church, or a hall, manor house. The christening of John, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Gatweard, was recorded at St. Peter's, Cornhill in London on July 28th 1622, and one Michaell Gatward married Margaret Whiskarde on October 3rd 1639 at St. Dunstan's in the East, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Gateward (witness), which was dated 1255, The Essex Assize Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111, "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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