This surname recorded as Askew, Ascough, Ainscough and Ainscow, is of Old Norse origin, and is a locational name from Aiskew in the North Riding of Yorkshire, deriving from the elements "eiki" meaning oak, plus "skogr", wood; hence, "oak wood". The placename appears as "Echescol" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Aykescogh" in the Feet of Fines of 1235. During the Middle Ages, when it was increasingly common for people to migrate from their birthplace to seek work further afield, the custom developed that they would adopt the placename as a means of identification. The surname dates back to the mid 14th Century (see below), and early recordings include: Robert Ascowe (1390) in the Calendar of Letter Books of the City of London, and William Askew (1488) in the Register of the Guild of Corpus Christi in the City of York. London Church Records list the christening of James Askew in 1550, at St. Margaret's, Westminster. Thomas Askew, an emigrant to the New World, embarked in the "Alice" from London bound for Virginia on July 13th 1635. A Coat of Arms granted to an Askew family is a black shield, a gold fesse, between three silver asses passant, gold maned and hoofed. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Aykescoghe, which was dated 1366, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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