This interesting name, found chiefly in the border regions of Scotland and Northumberland, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational surname deriving from one of several places in the Midlands, such as Ansley in Warwickshire or Annesley in Nottinghamshire. It may also derive from an unrecorded or now "lost" place in Northumberland so called. Ansley in Warwickshire is recorded as "Hanslei" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and derives from the Olde English "ansetl", hermitage, with "leah", thin wood, glade, clearing.Annesley in Nottinghamshire is recorded in the Domesday Book as "Aneslei", and means "the solitary glade", from the Olde English "an", one, with "leah" as before. The surname from this source is first recorded in Scotland as below, and other early recordings include: Thomas de Aneslei (1221, Glasgow); Johan de Anesleye (1296, Roxburghshire); and John de Annesley (1292, York). The modern forms of the surname are Ainslie, Ainsley, Aynsley and Ainslee. The marriage of Anthony Aynsley and Catharine Steventon was recorded at Moulsoe, Buckinghamshire, on July 29th 1632. A Coat of Arms granted to an Aynsley family depicts a bend ermine between two gold quatrefoils three black mullets of six points on a red shield. The Crest is a man in armour, holding in the dexter hand a sword erect proper pomel and hilt gold, on his breast a shield thereon the arms of Aynsley, and the Motto is "Furth fortune and fill the fetters". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Anslee, canon of Glasgow, which was dated circa 1220, in the "Register of the Monastery of Passelet", during the reign of Alexander 11, King of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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