This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name for a dweller by the east ridge, from the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "(e)ast", meaning east, and "hrycg", a ridge, hence the name means the east ridge. 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. Early examples of the surname which appears to have been widespread in South-West England, include: the christening of Judeth, daughter of Wolldridge and Abigail Ausstridge, which took place on September 30th 1672 at the Church of St. James', Clerkenwell, London; the marriage of William Astridge and Mary Rogers, which occurred on April 9th 1795, at North Hayling in Hampshire; and the marriage of Rebecca Astridge and Francis Lyons on September 15th 1811, at the Church of St. Anne's, Soho, Westminster, in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wolston Hestridge, which was dated August 20th 1574, a christening witness at Rockbourne, in Hampshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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