To the best of my limited knowledge the Woodgate family sprang from one of William the Conquerers officers named Woudyet. The family apparently started on the borders of Norfolk/Suffolk but spread to Burnham on the Norfolk coast where the members were sea farers and one was the last skipper of the Cutty Sark. The spelling of the name runs from Woodgates to Woodyet and many other variations. My Father and his Father came from Attleborough in Norfolk. You can see a picture of Grandpa Woodgate on my Web Site under "memories" at ---http://users.rcn.com/woudyet/http://users.rcn.com/woudyet/.
Ihave lived in the US for the past 40 years and lost all touch with the family. Woodgates are now spread all over the world, especially in Canada, NZealand and Australia.