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Origin of Akehurst Name


The Akehurst surname almost certainly derives from the village know as Oakhurst, in the county of Hertfordshire. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the years 944 - 946 A.D. in the reign of King Edmund (939 - 946), the village is recorded as "Acersc", translating as "the oak park". By the year 1287 the spelling had become Okersh, with "Oakhurst" being circa 1600.


The surname as Akehurst appears to be particularly associated with Sussex, which may be accidental through a mass movement from the original village.  The name has a number of variant spellings, these include: Ackhurst, Ackehurst, Akehurst, Akhurst and Akeherst. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johan Akehurst, which was dated 1578, baptised at Wilmington Church, Sussex, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603.


Surnames became necessary as 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.


The surname of AKEHURST was a locational name indicating that the dweller lived with in a wood of oak trees with residence nearby. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Most cities, towns or villages existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he was known, and moved elsewhere, people would refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the land which he owned.


Early records mention the name Robert de Akehurst, of the year 1273 in the County of Yorkshire. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be used in Europe, but they were not common-place in England or Scotland before the year 1066. Surnames are to be found in the Domesday Book of the year 1086. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of the year 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time


William The Conqueror ordered in 1086 the great survey of lands in England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities in order to know the extent of the taxes he could raise.  William had died before the Domesday book was completed in 1086


Those of noble blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II.  that it became more common for all the people to use surnames.  The bulk of Europeans surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but it was the norm in the 11th century that people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did.