This unusual surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a variant of the more familiar surname 'Ash', a topographical name from residence by a prominent 'asche' tree. Ash and Oak trees had a particular significance in ancient times, acting as meeting places or boundary markers, and therefore natural sources of surnames. The surname development is from the Middle English phrase 'atten asche', which later dialectically shortened to 'ate Assh', then 'Tash' and 'Na(y)sh'. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. In this case early examples of the surname include: William atte Nasche and John ater Aysse, noted in the 1273 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex; Henry Ate(n) Assche (Worcestershire, 1301); Roger atte- Ashe (Norfolk, 1327); and Alan Tassh, recorded in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. In the modern idiom forms of the name containing the fused preposition 'atte' include Tasch, Tesh and Tesche, with Nash, Nayshe and Naish. Further examples of the recordings include Anne Naysshe married in London in 1524, whilst on December 21st 1611, Elizabeth, daughter of Brian Tash, was christened at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. On August 3rd 1615, Alice Nash and Edward Sproson were married at St. Giles' Cripplegate, whilst on June 6th 1790 Samuel Whatley and Ann Naish were married at St Georges chapel, Hanover Square, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Ate Nasse, which was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. 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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