Double barralled names are the (usually) Victorian equivalent of the Anglo Saxon compound names, in that unjoined they have no specific meaning although the individual segments do. In this case "Howard" derives from either "Hugihard" meaning "Heart-Brave" or "Howart" - "The high Chief", a suitable origin for the name of the Earl Marhall of England. "Gater" has two possible meanings, the first being Norse Viking, pre 7th Century and deriving from "Gata" - The dweller by the road, the second as in Walter le Gater, being a Goat Keeper, one who minds "The Gats". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Howardus of Essex. which was dated 1086, The Domesday Book. during the reign of King William I, The Conqueror, 1066 - 1087. 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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