The surname of GAGE was an official name 'the gauge' meaning a measurer and tester of wheat and barley. It was also occasionally used as an occupational name for a moneylender or userer, from the Old French word 'gage' (pledge) surety against which money was lent. The name was brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday Book. Early records of the name mention Alice Gage who appears in the year 1310 in County Yorkshire and William Gage of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Family names are a fashion we have inherited from the times of the Crusades in Europe, when knights identified one another by adding their place of birth to their first or Christian names. With so many knights, this was a very practical step. In the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries the nobles and upper classes, particularly those descended from the knights of the Crusades, recognised the prestige an extra name afforded them, and added the surname to the simple name given to them at birth.
Thomas Gage (1721-87) was the English soldier, second son of the first Viscount Gage. He became military governor of Montreal in 1760, and from 1763 to 1772 he was commander-in-chief of the British forces in America, and in 1774 governor of Massachusetts.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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