1) This term had two distinct shades of meaning and is best known as the name of a street within a town or village, one which led to the church.
1275 quamdam domum in Kergate, Wakefield
1320 in villa de Ledes in quodam loco vocato le kirkegate. More generally, the rights of way which gave parishioners in outlying farms and hamlets access to the parish church were also called kirk gates, and these were by definition footpaths. In the parishes which had several townships, such rights of way had to cross brooks by ‘kirk bridges’ and when chapels of ease were formed these too had their kirk gates. An undated thirteenth-century charter refers to land in Beamsley inter Kirkegate et terram Gilberti and other references from that period include: 1281 ‘half an acre at Kirkegate’, Hawksworth
a.1297 obouen the kirkegate, Thrintoft
1516 de solo et vasto ... inter le Kirkegaite ... et Rybillyngedenwater, Holmfirth. The use of these footpaths gave rise to local disagreements: 1583 ought of right to have a way for bride and corse over the grounds of Thomas Bothomley in the accustomed place, Rishworth
1686 wee lay in payne that Joseph Hepworth doe make A sufficient Churchway adjoyneing to William Hepworth Croft for three Men to goe in A Brest ... as formerly hath beene, Kirkheaton
1742 on foot to go and pass with Corps and dead bodies to be interred at the parish Church of Kildwick. ‘Church’ and ‘way’ had begun to replace ‘kirk’ and ‘gate’ in the sixteenth century but the word survives in minor place-names.