This unusual and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name from residence by a ridge on which ash trees grew, or near a bridge constructed beside a stand of ash trees. The initial element of the name is the Olde English pre 7th Century "aesc", ash, with "hrycg", back, ridge, or "brycg", bridge. The latter element takes the form "brigge" in Middle English. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Minor places such as Ashridge in Buckinghamshire, and Ashrigg in North Yorkshire, are named with the elements "aesc", and "hrycg" (as above), and may, in some instances, have given rise to the surname. On December 27th 1566, William, son of Thomas Asbridg, was christened at Braunton, Devon, and on August 14th 1600, the marriage of Robert Ashbridge to Avis Brownson was recorded at St. Andrew's, Plymouth. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anne Asbricke, which was dated January 27th 1549, marriage to John Wyllyamson, at St. Martin and St. Gregory, York, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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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