Last name: Ashpole
Recorded in several spelling forms including Ashpole, Ashpool, Ashpoll, Ashepoole, and Ashpool, this is an English post medieval locational surname. It originates from the pre 7th century words 'aesc pol' meaning 'the ash tree by the pool' or similar, the ash being considered by the 'ancients' to have special powers. The name is almost certainly an example of a surname which derives from a now 'lost village. Some five thousand villages known to be in existence around the 14th century, have totally disappeared from the maps, and many provided the surnames which we have today. As to where precisely this village was situated is not known, but it may have been in the area of England known as 'The Home Counties'. It is well recorded in Bedfordshire for instance. The village name does not seem to be recorded in any of the known gazetter records, but this is not surprising as these records are far from complete, and early maps ignored many smaller hamlets. The late Professor P H Reaney in his 1958 book 'A Dictionary of English Surnames', provides a second opinion that Ashpole derives from 'Ashbolt', itself a form of Archibald. This is surely incorrect. The first known church register recordings of the surname are to be found in London. This is because London was the first place to have registers, and when people left their original villages for whatever reason, they usually headed for the metropolis, the only large city in England, and the only one most people would have heard of! There they would often be given as their 'identity' the name of their former village, and spelling being problematical, various forms would often develop even within the same family. Early examples of recordings include Daniel Ashepoole, a witness at St James Church, Clerkenwell, on October 18th 1569, and Thomas Ashpole, who married Margret Callis, at St Margarets, Westminster, on February 4th 1571, whilst outside London one of the earliest recordings is that of Joh Ashpole, a witness at St Pauls, Bedford, on February 18th 1640.
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