Recorded as Tungate, Towngate, Tungatt, Tongatt and the dialectals Tongay and Tungay, this is an English surname. It is locational and originates from a place called Tungate, near the town of North Walsham in the county of Norfolk. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th century word "tun", meaning variously an enclosure, a homestead, or a village, with the word "geat", which may mean gate, but given that Norfolk was an area which was under Danish-Viking influence in the 9th century, probably describes a road. Among the recordings of the surname in Norfolk is the marriage of Dorothy Tungate and Edmund Gryme in Trimingham on January 8th 1560, and John, son of Edmund Tungatt, was christened in Walcott on June 13th 1568. Other recordings showing the surname development include those of Jeene Towngate who married Andreas Jarade at Marham, on November 8th 1567, whilst the marriage of Elizabeth Tonguegate and Thomas Fulcher took place in All Saints, Norwich, on February 6th 1653. 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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