This interesting English name is either topographical for someone living in an Ashwood or a locational name from a place called Ashwood in Staffordshire. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "aesc", ash with "wudu", a wood. The Anglo Norman French preposition "de", meaning of, from having become fused to the name. The place Ashwood is recorded in the Close Rolls of Staffordshire in 1232 as "Aswude", and as "Asshewode" in the Charter Rolls of 1292. Francis Dashwood Baron le Despencer, (1708 - 1781) listed in the National Biography, was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and "lived a riotous life on the continent", leading member of the Dilettanti Society and founder of the Hell-Fire Club. Zachary Dashwood is recorded in 1693 in the Calender of Wills in Devon. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Dashwood, which was dated Ist January 1637, in St. Botolph's, Bishopgate, London, during the reign of King Charles 1, known as "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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.