The surname of BATE was derived from the Old English word Bat. It was an occupational name meaning a boatman or a fisherman. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. It was also occasionally used as a personal name 'the son of Batholomew'. As a given name in Christian Europe, this name derives its popularity from the apostle St. Bartholomew, the patron saint of tanners, vintners and butlers, about whom virtually nothing is known. The earliest of the name in Scotland appears to be Walter del Bate of Lancashire in 1296. Petrus de Bate was recorded in Lanark in 1415, and Robert Bates was a minister of the gospel of Spynie, in Moray. Early records of the name in England mention Bate de Butwick, recorded in County Lincolnshire in 1273. Bate (without surname) was documented in 1275 in County Yorkshire. Thomas Bateson of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Christopher Bateson of Caton, County Lancashire, was listed in the Wills at Richmond in 1587. Humphrey Bates and Joanne Empson, were married in London in the year 1615. William Bate and Anne Hill, were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1621. This English surname was taken to Ireland in the 17th century, and is numerous in Dublin and North Ulster. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory.
Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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