This is a 'royal' English surname of pre medieval origins. It derives from the 5th century personal name 'Aescwine', originally a triple element compound with the curious translation of 'Ash-spear friend'. It was for two centuries at least, and in whole or part, the name of kings of Kent, or sometimes the whole of the kingdom of Wessex, and hence the royal connection. The first of these monarchs was 'Aesc' who reigned in about 488-512 a.d., and the last was 'Aescwine', who died in about 676. The 'name' has the fairly unique distinction of having survived the Norman Conquest of 1066, and the French period for several centuries thereafter. At this time personal names, there were no hereditary surnames, with strong 'English' associations, were not 'politically correct', and most males were called by forms such as William, Richard, and Henry, later to become popular surnames in their own right. As a surname Ashwin or Ashwyn has always been quite rare, and it is perhaps surprising that the first known recording that of William Ashwyne, occurs in the county of Surrey, close to London. This was in the tax records known as the 'Subsidy Rolls' of 1332, and in the fifth year of the reign of King Edward 111rd of England, 1327 - 1377.
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