PASE: Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England


[Image: Excerpt from the Domesday Book]
[Image: Durham Liber Vitae, folio 38r (extract)]


Author: CPL
Editorial Status: unknown

Discussion of the name

Aski is a masculine personal name of Scandinavian origin. It is thought to have originated as the short form of a name such as Ásketill, Ásgautr, or Ásgeirr (given here in their Old Norse versions), and as such has no lexical meaning. The evidence for the name in Scandinavia is rather scanty, and the English material is not much fuller, though it certainly appears as the patronymic of several different men in Lincolnshire in the very early thirteenth century and may have formed some of the examples of the place-name Ashby in the same county (Fellows Jensen 1968: 32–3). The suggestion that it was the origin of the surname Askey has not been substantiated by documenting its development between the Domesday forename and the early seventeenth century (Reaney 1997: 16). The scattered handful of small pre-Conquest landowners called Aski suggests a name in use widely but mostly among families of low social status.

Von Feilitzen (1937: 168) warned that the spellings Asci and Aschi may have stood for the name which DB usually gives as Aschil (that is, Eskil), citing the single instance in which the Hertfordshire thegn Eskil of Ware was recorded as Aschi Wara (Herts. 4:16) rather than the usual spelling Anschil de Waras (with variants of the byname) (Herts. 4:14; 22:2; 26:1; 36:11; 37:1). He attributed the loss of the final –l to Anglo-Norman influence, but careless copying seems more likely, since in the same entry the scribe also omitted the letter –n–. The profiles, where relevant, discuss the possibility that the intended name was Aschil.

Apart from the handful of TRE landowners, the name Aski has not been recorded in PASE. Both the Phillimore and the Alecto editions rendered it Aski.


Fellows Jensen 1968: Gillian Fellows Jensen, Scandinavian Personal Names in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire (Copenhagen: I Kommission hos Akademisk Forlag, 1968)

Reaney 1997: P. H. Reaney, A Dictionary of English Surnames, 3rd edn with corrections and additions by R. M. Wilson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997)

Forms of the name

Spellings in Domesday Book: Asci, Aschi

Forms in modern scholarship:

von Feilitzen head forms: Aski

Phillimore edition: Aski

Alecto edition: Aski

Distribution map of property and lordships associated with this name in DB

List of property and lordships associated with this name in DB

People of this name

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