This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from a number of places similarly named. These are Astle, in Cheshire, which means "the Eastern hill", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "(e)ast", east, and "hyll", hill, and places called Astley in Lancashire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. These places are variously recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Hesleie" and "Estleia", the name means "the east wood", derived from the Olde English "(e)ast", east, and "leah", wood or clearing. Locational surnames, such as this, were usually acquried by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. In some cases the modern surname, found recorded as Astle, Astell, Astill and the genitive form Astles, meaning "of Astle", may be topographical in origin, denoting residence "at the east hill or wood". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Andrewe Astles was christened on August 14th 1603, at Wem in Shropshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon de Astell, which was dated circa 1225, in "Episcopal Records of Lichfield", Staffordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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