This surname is of medieval English origin and is a variant form of the locational name Ashhurst, from a place so called in Lancashire. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century 'aesc', ash tree, and 'hyrst', a wooded hill. Although there are places called Ashhurt in Hampshire, Kent and West Sussex, no recordings of Ashenhurst are present in those counties, so it is likely that this surname comes from Ashurst Beacon, near Wigan, as there are several recordings in Lancashire, for example, John Ashenhurst was christened on October 22nd 1648, and Marie Ashenhurst, on September 19th 1647, both at Manchester Cathedral, Lancashire. During the Middle Ages, when it became more customary for people to migrate from their villages, often to seek work elsewhere, they would often adopt the placename as a means of identification. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Asshurst, which was dated 1322, Lay Subsidy (Rylands), Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 11, 'Edward of Caernafon', 1307-1327. 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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