moor gate

1) Could mean a 'gate' controlling access to land under cultivation and the moor beyond; or, the road to the moor from the village; or a right to pasturage.

The term ‘moor gate’ can have three quite different meanings. It was quite commonly a 'gate’ which could be opened and shut, controlling access between land under cultivation and the moor beyond, and in this sense the word occurs frequently in manorial records. In 1734, for example, the inhabitants of Lund in the East Riding were ordered at the local court to make their moor fences good and not leave the moor gate open. Similar references are found throughout the 1600s, including the more yeate in Malham in 1604 and the moore yate in Ardsley in 1666: in this latter case payment was made for a crooke and loope which would fasten the gate. The initial ‘y’ in such examples makes it clear that ‘gate’ was the sense intended. On the other hand it seems likely that in some very early documents ‘gate’ had its origin in the Scandinavian word gata meaning ‘road’, and the ‘moor gate’ was the way to the moor from the village. That was probably true of Le Moregate in Wadworth near Tickhill, mentioned in 1323, and of le Moregate in Owsthorpe noted in 1341. In both cases land was said to abut on le Moregate. It certainly had that meaning in some compound minor place-names: c.1300 prope venellum qui vocatur Mynstermorgate, Beverley. However, in some ‘moor gates’ the gate was neither a road nor a gate but a right of pasturage: 1724 70 acres of arable land ... 30 mooregates or depasturing for 30 beasts to goe and depasture on the freehold moore, Norton le Clay.

dates 1300 1323 1341 1604 1666 1724 1734

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