This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from one of the places called 'Askham', which are found in Nottinghamshire, North Yorkshire and Cumberland. The first two of the places share the same meaning and derivation, and are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Ascam' and 'Ascham' respectively; the name means 'the settlement where ash-trees grew', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century 'aesc', ash (tree), with 'ham', settlement or homestead. 'Askham' in Cumberland is recorded in the Patent Rolls of the county of 1232 as 'Askum', and means 'the ash-trees', from the Old English 'aescum' or Old Scandinavian 'askum'. The development of the surname includes Richard de Ascum (1204, Yorkshire) and John de Askham (1290, ibid.). The modern surname can be found as 'Askham', 'Askam' and 'Ascham'. Sir Thomas Halton and Harriott Askham were married in London in 1752. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Conan de Ascham, which was dated 1201, the Yorkshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King John, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. 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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