Hungate Origins

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Hungate Family Crest & Coat of Arms

From Dougdale's Visitation of Yorkshire, 1665

Arms:- Gules, a chevron engrailed between three hounds sejeant Argent.

Crest:- A hound as in the arms.

Note: For those Hungates and Hungate relations with the ability to read and use .pdf files, I have produced a Hungate family Coat-of-Arms notecard which is on an 8.5x11 page but can be folded into fourths for a nice sized notecard.

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The Hungate family originated in the City of York, England. (See "Drake's Erboracum") In some old maps it is written Hundgate. During the Danish Conquest and occupation of NorthumberIand, the City of York was their capital. All the streets are called gates. There is one short and narrow street called Hungate. It goes down to the river Foss from St. Saviours Gate and it is near the site of an ancient dock where it is thought the Royal Kennel was located and that the dogs were used in hunting in the forest of Galpes, then adjoining the City.

The Danish word for dog is hund. Hence, the narrow street leading down to the river was called Hund Gate, corrupted to Hungate. Afterwards, this street became a commercial center and merchants lived near it. The family of Hungate, doubtless, took its name from this street.

The Small Hand Shown in the Hungate Family Coat-of-Arms

Here is an explanation of the small hand that is shown in the family Coat-of-Arms. Quoting from the book "The Scotch-Irish in America", by Henry James Ford, Professor of Politics at Princeton University, written in 1915.

In the 1600s, in order to maintain order in Ulster, "men of estate and plenty" were urged to become Undertakers, that is, to undertake the responsibility of supporting 48 able bodied men for three years in return for a grant of land, displacing the Irish landholder. The program wasn't going well, so in 1611 Francis Bacon suggested to King James that in order to attract more fit Undertakers he use grants of Knighthood "with some new difference and precedence". Acting on this advice King James created the order of Baronet. This act was repeated in 1624 when the colonization of Nova Scotia needed bolstering. The two classes are still distinguished in their heraldry with the Ulster Plantation Baronets having the right to bear the Red Hand of Ulster on their arms, while those of Nova Scotia display the Arms of Scotland.

It would appear that the first Hungate Baronet, Sir Phillip Hungate (c.1572-1655) was one who agreed to support the required number of colonists for the required length of time.

Click to see a portion of an historical map of York

(about 515k: a gif file)