This distinguished surname, with several entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", and having more than thirty Coats of Arms, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places throughout England named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "aesc", ash, with "tun", enclosure, settlement. These places include: Ashton near Lancaster in Lancashire, recorded as "Estun" in the Domesday Book of 1086; Ashton near Bainton, Northamptonshire, appearing as "Aesctun" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, dated 960; also, Long Ashton, Somerset; Ashton Gifford, Wiltshire, and Steeple, West and Rood Ashton, Wiltshire. Locational surnames were originally given to the lord of the manor, or as a means of identification to those who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. Notable early bearers of the name were: Thomas de Ashton, warrior, who fought with great valour under Neville at Neville's Cross in 1346; Sir Robert de Ashton, constable of Dover and warden of the Cinque ports, 1380; Sir John de Ashton, Knight of the shire for Lancashire, 1413, and Sir Ralph de Ashton, page of honour to Henry V1; vice-constable of England, and lieutenant of the Tower, 1483. A Coat of Arms granted to Major Miles Ashton, descendant of a noble and ancient Lancastrian family, in 1647, is a silver shield with an ash tree on a mount base all proper, growing through a gold urn, on a black chief a silver mullet, the Crest being a man armed cap-a-pie striking with a scythe proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Ascheton, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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