This is an unusual surname. There are several places called Redgate in Cornwall, Glamorgan and Ireland, but none seem to have provided the original nameholders. It is true that the name has been recorded for some centuries in Ireland, but not seemingly in County Wexford where the village of Redgate is situated. This suggests that at some point in history either there was a now 'lost' village of the name presumably somewhere in England, or perhaps one of the existing villages was 'cleared' in the 17th century under the legalised robbery known as 'The Enclosure acts', by which the landlords enclosed the existing 'commons' and forced the tenants off their land, to sink or swim somewhere else. This action was common for two centuries, and particularly so with the coming of the Industrial Revolution when the demand for wool reached record proportions, and as much land as possible was turned over to sheep grazing. The name 'Redgate' is probably a misnomer, it should be 'Reed-geat', and would refer to a place where reeds were gathered, either for transhipment probably by boat, or for drying out preparatory to use for thatching and the like. Early examples of the surname recordings include Edward Ridgate, christened at St Bartholomew the Less, London, on October 13th 1597, and Anne Reddegate, a witness at St Botolphs without Aldgate, London, on February 13th 1606. In Ireland Hester Redgate married John Smyth at Knockbrea, County Down, on August 7th 1842. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Redgate, which was dated January 25th 1561, married at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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