Recorded in various spellings including Asbrey, Astbury and Asbury, this is an English surname. It is locational from a place in the county of Cheshire called Astbury. First recorded as "Esteburi" in the year 1100 a.d. in the pipe rolls of that county, and later in 1180 as Asteburi, the place name and hence the later surname derives its first element from the Olde English pre 7th century word "east" , plus "burh", meaning a fortified place, and hence giving the meaning of the fortress to the east. Astbury is near to Congleton, and it maybe that it provided an outlying defence against attack on that town, or perhaps on the county town of Chester itself. Locational surnames by their nature are either names given to the local lord of the manor and his descendants, or more usually to people who left the original village and moved somewhere else. The easiest form of identification for stranger being to call him or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best "erratic" soon lead to the development of variant spellings. Early examples of the surname in surviving church registers of Cheshire from the early 17th century include such examples as Roger Astbury who married Ann Shawe in Prestbury on November 30th 1633, whilst on May 6th 1724, Katherin Asbury and Samuel Crane were married in Chester. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.