This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a variant of the English surname "Ash", plus the suffix "-er", which is usually attached to indicate a native or inhabitant of a particular place. In this instance "Asher" is a topographical surname for a dweller by a prominent ash tree, from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "aesc", ash, plus "-er", as described above. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages.The initial element "Ash" is found in many placenames, for example, Ashwell, Ashwater, Ashton, Ashley, Ashington, Ashford and Ashfield. One Richard del Eshe appears in the Assize Court Rolls of Worcestershire in 1221, and Ralph de Asche is recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. The Church Registers of London (St. Giles Cripplegate) record the following early examples: the marriage of Thomas Asher and Alyce Pollarde on November 28th 1585; the marriage of Margarett Asher and Nicholas Bettes on December 9th 1588; and the christening of Alyce, daughter of Peter Asher, on November 16th 1600. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Assher, which was dated January 27th 1578, a christening witness at St. Mary Somerset, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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