Ashley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Ashley name has descended through the generations from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name comes from having lived in the parishes named Ashley in Staffordshire, Wilts, Cambridge. The name developed in many counties in England and it represent one of the few names that may have developed simultaneously in several different counties. The family name Ashley is a variant of the surname Ash, which is of topographical derivation and indicates that members of the family once lived in close proximity to an ash tree. [1]

There may be a Norman connection as the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae listed "Walter de Esseleia was of Normandy, 1198. He was also of Gloucestershire, 1198. [2]

Early Origins of the Ashley family

The surname Ashley was first found in Cheshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times. They were found in many counties in England, and represent one of the few names which may have developed simultaneously in several different counties. They moved southward and appeared in Somerset, Wiltshire, Devon, and Dorset.

By the late 13th century, the name was scattered throughout ancient Britain. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed: Robert de Aslegh, Devon; Henry de Assele, Norfolk; and Walter de Asseleghe, Somerset. [3]

Early History of the Ashley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ashley research. Another 103 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1617, 1741, 1606, 1929, 1551, 1627, 1588, 1565 and 1641 are included under the topic Early Ashley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ashley Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Ashley has undergone many spelling variations, including Ashley, Ashly, Astley and others.

Early Notables of the Ashley family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Blessed Ralph Ashley (executed 7 April 1606), an English Jesuit lay-brother who became involved with the aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot; a Catholic martyr, beatified in 1929. Sir Anthony Ashley (1551-1627), was Clerk of the Privy Council, and "was descended from an ancient family which had settled, from the time of Henry VI, at Wimborne St. Giles, in Dorsetshire. Of Ashley's early...
Another 69 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ashley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ashley Ranking

In the United States, the name Ashley is the 725th most popular surname with an estimated 39,792 people with that name. [4] However, in the United Kingdom, the name Ashley is ranked the 873rd most popular surname with an estimated 7,830 people with that name. [5]


United States Ashley migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Ashley were among those contributors:

Ashley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ann Ashley, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [6]
  • An Ashley, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624 [6]
  • Ann Ashley in 1624 who settled in Virginia
  • Edward Ashley, who settled in Maine in 1630
  • Mary Ashley, who settled in Virginia in 1634
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Ashley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Eliza Ashley, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 [6]
  • Maurice Ashley, who arrived in Carolina in 1708 [6]
  • Ezekiel Ashley, who arrived in Connecticut in 1745 [6]
  • Sarah Ashley, who landed in New York in 1775 [6]
  • Lemuel Ashley, who landed in Massachusetts in 1784 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Ashley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Daniel Ashley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [6]
  • L G Ashley, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]
  • B M Ashley, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]
  • J Ashley, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]
  • P Ashley, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]
Ashley Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Samuel Ashley, who landed in Colorado in 1907 [6]

Canada Ashley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ashley Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mary Ashley, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. William Ashley, U.E., United Empire Loyalist, (b. 1749) born in London, England, who settled in Township of Loborough, County of Frontenac c. 1783 married to Margaret Buck, William died on March 24, 1835 in Kingston, Ontario, leaving 10 children [7]

Australia Ashley migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Ashley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Ashley, English convict who was convicted in Chester, Cheshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Eliza" on 22nd September 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • John Ashley, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on October 16, 1826, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [9]
  • Mr. William Ashley, (b. 1809), aged 27, English convict who was convicted in Somerset, England for 14 years for house breaking, transported aboard the "Eden" on 27th August 1836, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Mr. Henry Ashley, English convict who was convicted in Worcester, Worcestershire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Earl Grey" on 27th July 1838, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mary Ashley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Royal Admiral" in 1838 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Ashley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Ashley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Ashley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863 [13]
  • Elizabeth Ashley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863 [13]
  • Alfred Ashley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863 [13]
  • Robert Ashley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1863 [13]
  • John Ashley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Claramont" in 1863
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Ashley migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [14]
Ashley Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Andrew Ashley, aged 24, who landed in Barbados in 1683 [6]
  • Rebecca Ashley, who settled in Barbados in 1685

Contemporary Notables of the name Ashley (post 1700) +

  • Thomas William Ludlow Ashley (1923-1955), American politician, U.S. Representative from Ohio (1955 to 1981)
  • Vernon Lewis Ashley (1916-2015), Native American leader
  • William Henry Ashley (1785-1839), American fur trader, entrepreneur and politician
  • Robert Ashley (1930-2014), American composer of operas and other theatrical works
  • Maurice Ashley (b. 1966), American chess grandmaster
  • Karan Ashley (b. 1975), Karen Ashley Jackson, American actress
  • John Ashley (1934-1997), American actor
  • Elizabeth Ashley (b. 1939), American Tony Award winning actress
  • Barrett Ashley, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Tennessee, 1952 [15]
  • Arden Ashley, American politician, Mayor of Nitro, West Virginia, 1980-83 [15]
  • ... (Another 55 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Cornwall
  • Ernest  Frederick Ashley (d. 1942), British Engine Room Artificer 4th Class aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [16]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Robert G Ashley (b. 1919), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Burslem, Staffordshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Roger Ashley, British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [18]


Suggested Readings for the name Ashley +

  • Ashleys of the Old Colony: Based Upon the Research of R. Eugene Ashley, et al. by Robert E. Ashley.

  1. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  6. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 10th February 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/eliza
  9. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Andromeda voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1826 with 147 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/andromeda/1826
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th October 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/eden
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-grey
  12. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ROYAL ADMIRAL 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838RoyalAdmiral.htm
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 7th November 2010). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  15. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  16. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A
  17. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  18. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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