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ASHTON Family Crest / ASHTON Coat of Arms

ASHTON Family Crest / ASHTON Coat of Arms

The surname of ASHTON was a locational name 'of Ashton' - the enclosure with ash trees in it - place names in the parishes of Exeter and Peterborough. Almost every city, town or village extant in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. While a man lived in a town or village he would not be known by its name, as that would be no means of identification - all in the village would be so named. But when a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or by the name of the land which he owned. Some had the name of a manor or village because they were lords of that place and owned it, but the majority descend from vassals of freeman who once had lived there. Early records of the name mention Roger de Astun of the County of Lancashire in 1273. Johannes de Aston of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Freake and Phillippa Aston were married in London in 1618. Peter, son of Peter Ashton was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1646. A notable member of the name was Sir John William Ashton (1851-1942) the English born painter and teacher. In 1878 he emigrated to Australia, and was known for his landscapes and portraits. He organized the Grafton Gallery in London, exhibiting the works of Australian painters and artists. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God, however much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.


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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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