Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Ashfield Name
Origins of Ashfield:
This surname is of old English origin and is geographical from many places so named, for example, in Shropshire, and two places in Suffolk. The origin is from the Old English pre 7th Century ‘aesc’, which means an ash tree, with ‘feld,’ which means open country, and the first documentation of the place in Shropshire shows as ‘Assefeld,’ in the Pipe Rolls of 1167. However, the two places in Suffolk have different origins, for example, Ashfield near Debenham first listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as ‘Assefelda,’ and in the Feet of Fines of 1196 as ‘Esfeld,’ whereas Great Ashfield shows in the Domesday Book as ‘Eascefelda.’ In Alveley, Shropshire, there was an early record of the naming of Doryty Ashfield in March 1592, and in Little Saxham, Suffolk, the wedding of Marie Ashfield and Andrew Gilmin in June 1586.
More common variations are: Aishfield, Ashfild, Asheffield, Ashfeild, Aishafild, Eschfield, Ashfold, Ashfelt.
The surname Ashfield first appeared in Suffolk, at Ashfield, which dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was noted there as Assefelda. Great Ashfield, Suffolk was also recorded there as Eascefelda. Ashfield is the name of an old hamlet originally named Esfeld in 1216. It is now a local government district in western Nottinghamshire built in 1974. And today, Ashfield is a neighborhood in the Inner West of Sydney, in New South Wales, Australia. This latter local was founded shortly after the First Fleet appearance in 1788.
The very first recording spelling of the family was shown to be that of Margaret Ashfield, dated about 1569, near the Bury St. Edmunds, Denham. It was during the time of Queen Elizabeth I, who was known to be the “Good Queen Bess,” dated 1558-1603. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England.
Many of the people with surname Ashfield had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
United States of America:
Individuals with the surname Ashfield landed in the United States in three different centuries respectively in the 17th, 18th, and 19th. Some of the people with the name Ashfield who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included James Ashfield settled in Virginia in 1636. John Ashfield settled in West New Jersey in 1664. William Ashfield, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1691.
People with the surname Ashfield who landed in the United States in the 18th century included Henry Ashfield settled in Maryland in 1776.
The following century saw more Ashfield surnames arrive. Some of the people with the surname Ashfield who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included James Ashfield, who arrived in New York in 1836. G Ashfield who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851.
Some of the individuals with the surname Ashfield who landed in Australia in the 19th century included Andrew Ashfield at the age of 32, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship “William Prowse.”
Here is the population distribution of the last name Ashfield: England 1,334; United States 332; Canada 304; Australia 184; South Africa 146; Wales 56; Scotland 20; New Zealand 17; Czech Republic 3; Uruguay 3.
Edmund Ashfield (1576 – ca. 1620) was an English Romanist from Tattenhoe in Buckinghamshire. He was trained at St Mary Hall, Oxford. In 1599, he progressed to Edinburgh to meet James VI of Scotland. The resident English ambassador organized his kidnap and performance apparently in the belief that Ashfield was an agent of James VI and working to move to the English throne. In 1606, Ashfield was included in the rebuilding of Ashridge Priory for Sir Thomas Egerton.
Edmund Ashfield was a 17th-century English artist.
George Ashfield (1934-1985), was an English football player.
Kate Ashfield was a British actress.
Ashfield Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Ashfield blazon are the fleur-de-lis, mullet, cinquefoil and goose. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, sable and argent .
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries . Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone..
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur . In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
The fleur-de-lys (“flower of the lily”) has a long and noble history and was a symbol associated with the royalty of France even before heraldry became widespread. . The Lily flower is said to represent “Purity, or whiteness of soul” and sometimes associated with the Virgin Mary. The fleur-de-lys is also used as a small “badge”, known as a mark of cadency to show that the holder is the sixth son of the present holder of the arms
The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” . A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires . In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” .
Natural objects abound in heraldry, and one category that gives especial delight are the many flowers and flowering plants that frequently occur . The cinquefoil is also of this type, being drawn, at least a little, realistically and often to very pleasing effect. It is shown as five-petalled flower, each petal quite rounded but with a distinct tip. It is sometimes pierced with a hole in the centre and usually appears on its own, without any leaves. It has no fixed colour but can appear in any of the available heraldic tinctures.