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
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
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