Origins of the Name

The English name Akhurst and its variants Ackhurst, Akherst, Ackhirst and Akhirst, is of toponymic origin, that is, it belongs to the category of surnames derived from the place where the initial bearer once lived or held land. In this instance, the name indicates "one who came from Akhurst or Ackhurst", the name of a place but the exact location of which is today unknown.


The toponym Akhurst is derived from the old English "ac" meaning "oak tree", and "hyrst", meaning "wood, wooded hill". In Middle English "hyrst" became "hurst" when found in the west and central midlands and the southern counties.  It became "herst" in the south east, especially Essex and Kent, whereas "hirst" is found in the north and the east midlands.


In some instances, the first part of this toponym,"Ak", is derived from "Aca", an old English personal name also meaning "oak tree".   Thus the name can literally be translated as "oak tree covered hill" or "Aca's wooded hill". Similar toponyms include Ackwood (oak-wood), Ackworth (oak enclosure),Akland (oak-land), Ackham (oak-village) and Ackford (oak-ford).


The certificate then goes on to describe the family "Blazon of Arms" :- "Argent, on a bend sable three acorns or."


Phillip Renfree


A Dictionary of English Surnames Top

AKEHURST, AKHURST: John de Ochurst  1296 ; John Akeherste 1525 .  From Akehurst Fm in Hellingly (Sx).

HERST, HIRST, HURST, HORST: ...Old English - hyrst, "wood, wooded hill. The surname may derive from ..... Hurst (Berks, Kent, Warwicks) or Hurstpierpoint (Sussex), earlier Herst, or more frequently, from residence near a wood or wooded hill. ...


OAKHURST: Simon de Okhurste 1283-4; John Okhurst 1395 (Place Names of Sussex)  From Oakhurst (Herts) or Oakhurst in Kirdford (Sussex).


Colin Ackehurst


The name Akast   Top

786Surrey/Sussex, England  

This very unusual name is not apparently recorded in Britain before the early 19th Century, in the period immediately following the Napoleonic Wars (1794-1815 ).  It is possible that the name is a transposed form of the old English "Ac-Hurst" ( the Oak wood ), but the dating and make up of the name strongly suggests an anglicized form of a Baltic name. It is some peoples opinion based upon previous experience, that "Akast" derives from the Polish ( Dauzig ) " Akszac " and translates to "the son of Aks" the latter being the name of a 4th century Saint, and itself translating as "to increase or magnify".   There was much interchange of Merchant traders in this period," British" homes in Russian or Polish variant spellings becoming common in the Baltic.   However is it also possible that the name is a variant of Akehurst, Ackhurst and Akhurst, surnames that are associated with Sussex, England.  The First recorded spelling of this family name is in fact our Charles Akast, which is found at a Christening dated March 12th 1820, Charles being a Witness at St. George the Martyr, Southwick, during the reign of King George 111.  I found Charles own Birth under the spelling of Akhurst, ( His father recorded as William Akhurst born 1761-29th July 1820 age 59.  

Jan Longley


Dictionary of Old English Meanings Top

From what I like to call my best guess or what its worth dept and my dictionary of Old English meanings.

A\c\k\e\hurst = A\c\k\e  + Hurst

A\c\k\e  is derived from the Old English " âc " meaning " oak "

Hurst  is derived from the Old English  " hyrst "  meaning " wooded hill

"

Achurst = Oak hill.

David J. Murdock



Dictionary of Surnames   Top

ACKEHURST - Akehurst - Ackroyd - English from the Northern Middle English meaning 'oak' + 'clearing'; oak (hurst), chiefly a Sussex surname. Dictionary of Surnames by Basil Cottle and Wordsworth Dictionary of Surnames by Freedman and Macleod.

Louise Rustad



1938 Letter Extract Top

According to family tradition (which I have not checked) we come from a middle class Midland family in no way related to the peerage but appearing in Burkes County Families under the name Akers or Acers.  We have been mostly ardent protestants with the result that we sided with Monmouth in his rebellion against James 11 and, when the revolt was suppressed, our ancestors hastily changed their names and addresses so as to avoid the attentions of Judge Jeffries and became Akhurst and Akehurst in Kent.   English Directories show plenty of them there today.

Anne Barraclough



SUMMARY  Top

In general the derivation of the name Akehurst is consistent in all of the above submissions.


Local surnames, by far the largest group, derive from a place name, indicating where the man held land, or the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. ... ... These local surnames derive (with occasional exceptions) from English, Scottish or French places and were originally preceded by a preposition de, at, by, in, etc.


A very large number of English local surnames derive from small places, or denote residence by a wood, in the marsh, by oaks, elms, etc


We have seen that a large number of surnames appear to have had a single-family origin and that many others started independently in only two or three different localities.  In such cases it is often possible to trace a surname back to the district of its original home , even perhaps to identify the particular farmstead or hamlet from which it sprang.