Show ContentsAshbirton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Ashbirton family

The surname Ashbirton was first found in Devon at Ashburton, a small town on the south-southeastern edge of Dartmoor which dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Essebretone. [1]

"Ii has been commonly assumed that Ashburton is the ' Aisbertone ' recorded in ' Domesday ' as being held by Matilda in succession to Brictric, and under her by Judhel of Totnes ; and that when he was banished it became the property of the Bishops of Exeter. ' Aisbertone,' however, possessed not only fisheries, but a saltwork, and was therefore adjacent to the sea ; and the true Ashburton of ' Domesday ' is the ' Essebretone ' which the Bishops of Exeter held before the Conquest, and to which ' Domesday ' gives a population of sixty." [2]

Originally a borough, markettown, and parish, in the union of Newton-Abbott, hundred of Teignbridge. "This town, anciently called Aisbertone, in the time of Edward the Confessor belonged to Brietric, and at the Conquest to Judael de Totnais." [3]

By 1328, it was made a stannary town by charter of Edward III and by that time had already be well known for its mines of tin and copper. By the time of Charles I, it was property of the crown and he bestowed the manor upon his son Charles, when he created him Prince of Wales. Literally the place name means "farmstead or village by the stream where ash-trees grow" from the Old English words "aesc" + "burna" + "tun." [4]

Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Ashburton, held by a steward of the Bishop of Exeter who was recorded in the Domesday Book.

Early History of the Ashbirton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ashbirton research. Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ashbirton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ashbirton Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Ashburton, Ashberton, Asburton, Asburton and many more.

Early Notables of the Ashbirton family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Ashbirton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Ashbirton family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Ashbirton or a variant listed above: Frances Ashburton, aged 35, who arrived at Ellis Island from Alresford Hants., England, in 1919; Frances Ashburton, aged 35, who arrived at Ellis Island from England Ants, in 1925.

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  3. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4) on Facebook