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Hungate Coat of Arms

Origin of the Name Hungate:
There are ambiguities as to how, when and where the name Hungate originated, and of course, we may never know the true origin of the Hungate name.
A few derivations are Hundgate, Hundagate, Hundegate. Hund being the Danish name for a dog and gate implying a pathway or street. Hence, dog path or Hundgate, thus Hungate.

Another possibility it seems is that it could be derived from Unda meaning water or Undagate, a street leading to the water.
Here in the United States we have Hunget and Hungett, both sprang from Charles Hungate who first appeared in Virginia History in 1747.

The Following is taken from the pages of:

"Volume I
The Hungate Family
Carroll Paul Hungate, M.D.
Dated January 1975"

Hungate is an irregular street which runs from St. Savior’s Church through low-lying land, anciently called The Merske, or Marsh of York, to the brink of the river Foss. In the 11th century most of the district was covered by the King’s Pool of Foss. As the lake little by little silted up, swampland, called void plots, was reclaimed and granted by the King at nominal rents to the citizens, whereon gardens were laid out houses built.

The roadway through The Mersk, a name derived from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘mersc’ a marsh, or track of land occasionally inundated or flooded with water, was in 1250 mentioned as Mersk Street. A few decades later we find it written in various documents Hundgate alias Merske Street, Hundagate, Hundegate, and Hungate. The latter names have doubtless some connection with ‘unda’ suggestive of the original waterlogged or marshy state of the land. In other north country towns and villages there are streets and roadways situated near streams liable to flood, similarly named Hungate. John de Merske in 1343, and Thomas de Hondegate in 1279, were doubtless, so named because they lived in the district.

The parish church of St. John Baptist stood here, east of the street, now gardens; but after the demolition it was long called St. John’s Green. There are not the least remains of the church still standing, which was formerly appropriated to the revenues of the dean and chapter of York, and accounted on of their great farms. Valued 61. per annum. It was united to St. Saviour’s. There was a chantry in this church founded by Richard Russell, citizen and merchant; afterwards augmented by John Thirsk, a merchant, also mayor of the staple of Calais, who both lived in this street, and were both buried in this church. Yearly value 61.4d.

Two lanes lead from Hungate, one called Pound-Lane, which runs to a piece of ground called Pound-Garth, called so from being upon the royal fishery of Foss; the other is Haver-Lane, with gardens on both sides leading to Peasholme Green. The quantity of stone walling about these gardens etc., pleads strongly for many ancient building to have been thereabouts; and there is no small quantity of grit wrought up in the wall at the bottom of Hungate going to the Foss. The place called Holy Priests Well. The hall belonging to the company of shoemakers in this city stands in Hungate; where the company of Cordwainers held their meetings; but on the dissolution of the body, it was sold, and derived into small tenements, for the accommodation of poor families.

Respecting the deviation of this name, Drake acknowledges himself completely ignorant; and attempts to transform Hungate into Hungraygate. As however ‘Hund’ in the Danish language, means ‘a dog’ it is probable, that in former ages there was in this neighborhood, a kennel for hounds, which perhaps might be kept there, for the occasional destruction of wild beasts in the extensive Forest of Galtres. Drake observes, that this street gave name to the family of Hungate, in the country of York; but perhaps that historian has forgotten the village five miles from Ripon, called Hungate, from which a family is more likely to have derived its name, than from a street in York.

Another conjecture may, however, be hazarded respecting the derivation of this appellation, for the satisfaction of those who are not inclined to coincide with the preceding. The street being almost in a direct line to the river Foss, and extending to the very edge of it, there is considerable possibility that it may have been so called from the word "Unda" implying water; and alluding to the situation, it may have been Unda-gate; and thence have become Hundagate or Hungate; a street leading to water.

Hungate, was in later times, of great importance, being the place of residence of many considerable and opulent citizens and merchants. Its antiquity is evinced by the remains of several old walls, in one of which, near the Foss, is much of the gritstone used by the Romans.



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