Recorded as Aston, Ashton, Aiston, Astone and others, this is an English surname with three possible origins. Firstly it may be locational from any of a large number of places deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ast or est ", meaning east, and "tun", a settlement, hence the settlement to the east (of the main village), or from "aesc", meaning ash, to give a "settlement by the ash tree". Locational names were originally given as a means of identification to those who left their village or place of origin to settle elsewhere. Secondly, it may be from a personal name such as "Aethelstan". This is composed of "aethel", meaning noble, and "stan", a stone. Asthone de Sancto Luca is noted in the 1140 Documents relating to the Danelaw for Lincolnshire, and Thomas filius Adestan is listed in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire in 1187. Finally, the surname may be topographical for someone who lived by a conspicuous stone. This is a result of the fusion of the reposition "at" with stan. William Astone appears in a Calendar of the White and Black Books of the Cinque Ports in the year 1500, whilst on December 10th 1523, John Aston married Elizabeth Somers in London, and Richard Aiston was christened at St. John's Hackney, on November 8th 1568. A coat of arms associated with the name has the blazon of a shield divided per chevron black and silver, and the Crest is an ass's head proper. The Motto, "Pret d'acomplir", translates as, "Ready to accomplish". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Aston. This was dated 1206, in the Curia Regis Rolls of Gloucestershire, during the reign of King John, 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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