This interesting and attractive surname is of Anglo-Scottish origin. Recorded in many forms as shown below it is either topographical from residence by a swing-gate, specifically one in a fence between ploughed land and meadow, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hlid-geat", or locational from all or any of the villages such as Lidgate in the counties of Suffolk, Yorkshire, and Derbyshire, or Lidgett near Edwinstowe in Nottinghamshire, and Lugat in the lordship of Stow, Midlothian, Scotland. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages, and locational names were originally given as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: Philip atte Lidgate (Yorkshire, 1274); Richard de la Lydeyate (Staffordshire, 1280), and John atte Lygate (Sussex, 1332). In the modern idiom the surname has a number of spellings including Lidgate, Liddiatt, Lidgett, Lydiatt, Lyddiatt, Lydiate, Liggat, Liggatt and Liggett. Examples of recordings include that on February 3rd 1697, of Elizabeth Liggett and Jonathan Bushell were married at St. James', Duke's Place, London, whilst the first recorded spelling is shown to be that of Ralph de Lidgate. This was dated 1230, in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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