Derived from Ashford
, which is the name of several places in England. All but one of these derive the second element of their name from Old English ford
meaning "ford" - for the one in North Devon, it is derived from Old English worō
As for the first element of their name: for most places, it is derived from Old English æsc(e)
meaning "ash tree(s)". But for Ashford in the county of Kent, it is derived from Old English æscet
meaning "clump of ash trees". And for the one in the county of Surrey (formerly Middlesex), it is derived from the medieval personal name Eccel
, which itself is ultimately derived from Old English ecg
As such, depending on the place that the ancestor of a bearer of the surname originally came from, the meaning of the surname can be: "ford by the (clump of) ash trees", "enclosure full of ash trees" and "Eccel's ford".
Also compare the surname Axford
, which is closely related.