This is a very interesting locational surname. It is usually English but may occasionally be Scottish in origin. One of its unusual features is that it apparently derives from a village called Howgate of which there are two in Scotland, but none in England, and yet it is in England that far and away the greatest number of recordings exist. This suggests that an English village did once exist, but does so no longer. If this is the case, and some five thousand surnames of the British Isles are known to originate from now lost locations, it would explain the frequency of recording. Furthermore locational surnames are by their nature from names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes to move somewhere else, the easiest way to identify such people being to call them by the name of the place from whence they came. The name is probably Norse-Viking in origin, and if so it derives from "hoh-geat", which means a road (geat) on a hill. In many parts of the North of England and particularly the city of York, "gate" always described a road or street, with bar meaning a fortified gate. Early examples of the surname recording include Betteris Howgate when she was christened at the church of St Mary Magdalene in the city of London in 1573, William Howgate, recorded at Troon in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1641, and Jonathon Howgate, a witness at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone, Marylebone, city of London, on April 16th 1775.
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