This famous surname much associated with Georgian period of the 18th century, is of early medieval English origin. It is topographical and describes a person who lived "at an ash (tree)." In ancient history the ash tree held particular significance, being considered to have magical powers, perhaps because of the many and varied uses of the wood. As a result local tribes often met held their meetings at an ash tree, when business would be conducted, and any court proceedings held. In some cases ash trees were specially planted to provide boundary markers between differing tribal territories. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created in the 13th century, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Early examples of the surname include: William atte Nasche and John ater Aysse, both noted in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Sussex in 1273; Henry Aten Assche of Worcestershire in 1301; and Alan Tassh, recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1327. In the modern idiom, forms of the name containing the fused preposition "atte" include: Tash, Tasch, Tesh and Tesche, with Nash, Nayshe and Naish resulting from a misdivision of the phrase "atten asche". Later examples include: Elizabeth Tash, christened at St. Dunstan's in the East, Stepney, in 1611, and Alice Nash and Edward Sproson who were married at St. Giles church, Cripplegate, city of London, on August 15th 1611. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Ate Nasse. This was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls" of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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