Recorded as Aspray, Aspree, Asprey, Asprie and Osprey, this is a famous surname. It is believed to be English, although surprisingly it does not appear to be recorded in any of the known directories of surnames. It is however well recorded in the International Genealogical Index and particularly for the city of London. It was probably a nickname, and the fact that it is sometimes found as Osprey may provide a clue. The Osprey is renowned as one of the fiercest of all seabirds, and therefore it is just possible that this surname was originally a medieval nickname for a person considered by his peer group to have the characteristics of such a bird. It is also possible that the name is locational from a 'now' lost medieval village, although if this is the case, then we have totally failed to locate any such place. The nearest would seem to be Aspatria in Cumberland, which means the ash tree of (St.) Patrick, although the translation could be 'Aspen-eg' or the island of aspen. Lost medieval village a feature of social history of the past five centuries, during which time an estimated five thousand such places from small towns to hamlets, have disappeared. In this case the earliest church recording that we have been able to find is that of John Aspree at St Andrews Holborn, in the city of London, on June 19th 1743.
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