Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Taken from the book - "Josiah Askew of Edgecombe County" by Alice Ann Askew

"The name Askew, spelled variously: Aiscough, Aiskeughe, Ayscough, Ascur, Askow, Ascogh, Askyou, Askey, Aiskew, Aykescughe, etc. derives from the Norse words "ask skog". The o is pronouced as oo (food) even now in Norway and Sweden—thus Askoog. Old English (Norse) was still spoken in northern England in the time of King John ca 1197 when, according to Burke's LANDED GENTRY, and accepted by all scholars as certain, a tract of land near Viillom covered with ash trees in that time called Askoog (ash forrest) was given to a certain Thurston, later called Thurston de Bosco (from the forest). Perhaps according to advice at the local historical museum in Millom, he, as a Norman or a local also of Norse descent, accompanied the Lord of Miliom when he led men of the area to the Holy Land on the Crusade of William the Lion Hearted and was given the ash forrest by which he became a yeoman ('land owner). At least, when later some Askew men were knighted, they chose to place on their coat of arms a sword held aloft holding an infidel's head. This tract of land was listed by the name Askoog in the Domesday Book, a land census lifted by agents of William the Conqueror in 1085-1086. The name Askew, thus, is a place name. The children descendants or born on the land were called, as customary, Mary of Askoog, John of Askoog, etc., until, since, few people could read or write, the name was annoted variously as heard and finally after centuries, standardized written as Askew. By the fifteen hundreds the members of the Askew family were sparsely scattered over England but were mostly concentrated near its place of origin from Bootle on the coast across the lower Lake Country along Morecombe Bay over to Bedale past Lancashire into Yorkshire. There the name is well known."

And from Wikipedia Norse Mythology page:
"In Norse mythology, the World Tree "Yggdrasil" is commonly held to be an ash tree, and the first man, "Ask", was formed from an ash tree (the first woman was made from alder). Elsewhere in Europe, snakes were said to be repelled by ash leaves or a circle drawn by an ash branch. Irish folklore claims that shadows from an ash tree damage crops. In Cheshire, it is said that ash could be used to cure warts or rickets."
All in all a name to be proud of.....something magical about it!

Jonathon Hopper also adds the following: "Looking at the large scale modern map, in the Mawdesley/ Ormskirk region are the following places:
Blainscough (further east)

So the use of the Scandinavian word for forest - scough was evidently
well established locally..."


David Askew said...

Thank you so for your very well documented history. Our family for several generations continues to be very attached to the forest and myself personally to woodworking of all kinds. I feel something akin to being completely in my element while in the forest. Recently I've discovered that trees have messages to communicate to us, each variety having their own personality. I've registered on your blog to stay in touch.David Askew

Margaret Spillane said...

I always remember my mother saying that it came from a settlement name like 'meadow by the wood or forest' as in 'eng' and 'skog' , thus 'engskog' , from the meadow by the wood/forest. I don't know where she got that information from though. She had many friends in Scandanavia so perhaps it was from them?
Margaret Spillane (nee Ainscough)

Aamir Askew said...

Thankyou now i know a lot more about my name and its origion