The English surname Ashby is of local origin, being one of those surnames derived from the place where the original bearer lived or held land.  In this case the name denotes one who "dwells ASHBY FAMILY COAT OF ARMSby or in Ashby".  Authorities differ as to the literal meaning of this name; it may derive from the Old Norse term meaning "ash-tree farm", or, alternatively, it may denote a farm belonging to a Norseman by the name of "Aski", which was subsequently rendered "Ashby" when subjected to local dialectical peculiarities.  Norse was the language of the Vikings, those Scandinavian pirates who ravaged most of Northern Europe between the 8th and 11th centuries.  Thus, the eponymous bearer would have hailed from a town which drew its name from such a farm.  There are many towns of this name in the English midlands, the biggest of these and subsequently the one to which most families may trace their origins is Ashby de la Zouche, which was chosen by Sir Walter Scott as one of the settings for "Ivanhoe".  Here too are the ruins of Ashby Castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned.

The name enjoys a long history in England with one of the earliest written records dating to 1200 when one Robert de Ashebi is noted as having submitted a plea before the Justice of the King in Norfolk and in 1332, one Richard Assheby is mentioned in the "Subsidy Rolls" for Sussex.  This name was established at an early date in America.  In 1635, one Abraham Ashbey with his wife, Winifred and five children set sail from Northampton for New England.  Today the name is well represented there with an estimated 15,300 bearers.

Azure, a chevron ermine between three leopards' faces.  The leopard in heraldry represents a brave and courageous warrior.

Be just and fear not



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