This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational surname deriving from any one of the places called Ashurst in Kent, Sussex, and Lancashire. The place in Kent, near Tunbridge Wells, was recorded as "Esherst" in 1268, and that in Sussex, near Steyning, as "Aishurst" in 1199, and as "Aschurst" in 1283; the place in Lancashire is now known as Ashurst Beacon, and is situated near Wigan. All of these places share the same meaning and derivation, which is "the hill of the ash-wood", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "aesc", ash, and "hyrst", wooded hill. Interestingly, although the places in the southern counties are more significant, the surname Ashurst is found chiefly in Lancashire, especially the south eastern regions. One John Ashurst, aged 24 yrs., was an early emigrant to the American Colonies, leaving London on the "Alexander" in May 1635, bound for the Barbadoes. A Coat of Arms granted to a Cheshire family of the name depicts a gold cross engrailed on a red shield, in the chief dexter quarter a gold fleur-de-lis. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Asshurst, which was dated 1322, in the "Lay Exchequer Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "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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