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2549

Ashfield

 

About the study

Our research into the Ashfield families of Canada began in the 1980s, starting with information in a family bible of the Ashfields of Ottawa, Ontario. Most of the Ashfield families in Canada came from either Ireland or England so we had soon accumulated information on several Ashfield families in the UK, some later proven to be connected to each other and others apparently not. This led to further worldwide research and to the registering of the Ashfield One-Name Study with the Guild of One-Name Studies.

Variant names

There are a number of variants of the Ashfield surname since the 14th century. These include de Ashfield, de Ashfeld, Ashfeilde, Ashfeild, Ashefeilde, Ashfeld, Ashefilde, Aishfield, Ayshfeelde, Asshefeld, Ashfild, Ashfold, Ashfull and Aschfield.

Name origin

The surname Ashfield is believed to be a locational name that originated from an individual living in or near a place named Ashfield -- 'a field with ash trees'. There are parishes named Ashfield from an early date in Suffolk and Shropshire, England. The earliest references to Ashfield as a surname are in the 1300s in Stowlangtoft, Suffolk -- only a few miles from Ashfield Magna (nowadays Great Ashfield).

History of the name

-- In 1369 Robert de Ashfeld was patron of St George's Church in Stowlangtoft, Suffolk

-- Robert Ashfeld was a man-at-arms with Henry V in France in 1415.

-- Edmund Ashfield of Ewelme, Oxfordshire and Shenley, Buckinghamshire, was knighted in 1570.

-- John Ashfeilde was Attorney General of Munster in 1591/2.

-- Robert Ashfield was knighted in 1598 in Christchurch, Dublin.

-- Edmond Ashfield of Chesham, Buckinghamshire, was a prisoner in the Tower of London in 1601. He was also knighted there in 1603/4.

-- An Ashfield, either named Robert or John, was servant to Robert Catesby and was involved in the Gunpowder Plot, running messages between Catesby, Guy Fawkes and other conspirators.

-- John Ashfield of Suffolk was knighted at Theobalds in 1615. He was one of the Gentlemen of the Privy Chamber of King Charles I and became a Baronet in 1626. The baronetcy continued for several generations but was said to be extinct by 1727.

-- Patience Ashfield 1627-1708 is included in A Biographical Dictionary of English Women Writers.

-- Edmund Ashfield flourished as a pastellist between 1669 and 1690.

Distribution of the name

The earliest references to the surname Ashfield have been found in Suffolk and Norfolk. By 1439 there is an Ashfield family in Heythrop, Oxfordshire. By the 1500s there are families in Chesham, Bucks and in Chipping Norton and Witney, Oxfordshire, where they were involved with the wool industry for many generations. In the 1600s they were prominent in Stratford on Avon, Warwickshire and also in Worcestershire -- in Shipston on Stour, Pershore and Bromsgrove.

Today the largest concentration of the Ashfield surname is still centred in that area, between the counties of Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Staffordshire. There are Ashfield families throughout England and also in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Canada, the USA, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Data

Entries from the General Register Offices BMD Indexes for England and Wales from 1837 to 2002 have been recorded.

Many extracts have been made from the UK Census records from 1841 to 1911 and also from US and Canadian census records.

Information from the International Genealogical Index has been recorded as has some parish register data.

Copies have been made of many Ashfield wills from the PCC wills collection.

I would be very pleased to help anyone with an interest in the Ashfield family seeking information on their ancestors and would also be interested in receiving further Ashfield information.

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