This curious surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a variant of the more familiar Ash, itself a topographical name from residence by a prominent ash tree. The derivation is from the Middle English phrase "atte(n) asche", at the ash, which later became "ate Assh" and "Tash". 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. 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" are Tash, Tasch, Tesh and Tesche, with Nash, Nayshe and Naish resulting from a misdivision of the Middle English "atten asche". On December 21st 1611, Elizabeth, daughter of Brian Tash, was christened at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, and on August 3rd 1615, Alice Nash and Edward Sproson were married at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the Tash family is a shield divided per pale gold and red with a chevron between three cinquefoils counterchanged, on a chief per pale of the second and first, two escallops counterchanged, the Crest being a gold demi greyhound, collared red, holding between the feet an escallop of the last. 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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