The surname of ASHBY was a locational name 'of Ashby' parishes in the diocese of Lincolnshire, Norwich and Peterborough. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village in early times, has served to name many families. Early records of the name mention Peter de Askeby, 1273 County Norwich. David de Asseby was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Ashbey and Joanne Watson were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London 1620. Charles Asbee and Elizabeth Thornell were married in London, 1780, ibid. A notable member of the name is Sir Eric Ashby, the British born, Australian botanist and educator, born in London in 1904. He was educated at London and Chicago Universities, and was appointed professor of Botany at Sydney University in 1938. He was knighted in 1956. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The lion depicted in the crest is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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