An English surname, Ashley comes from the Old English terms ‘aesc’ and ‘leah’ which refer to the woodlands of ash cleared. The spelling variations for Ashley include Ashlaie, Ash, Ashlie, Ashliegh, Ashlee and Ashleigh. In England most Ashley families live in the northern regions especially in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and south to Somerset, Kent and the city of London. In Scotland the southern regions of the country is where most with the Ashley surname have originated. Ashleys are in Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Berwickshire, West Lothian, Dunbartonshire and Dumfries-shire counties. Within the United States the southern states is where many with the Ashley surname originated. The states of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Kentucky have higher numbers of Ashley families. There is also the states of New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and California with many Ashley families. Famous: John Ashley (infamous robbery gang leader in southeast Florida from 1911 to 1924), Ian Ashley (English race car driver), William Henry Ashley (early 19th century pioneer adventurer of the Missouri region), William ‘Gobo’ Hare Ashley (professional cricket player from South Africa), Robert Ashley music composer) and Maurice Ashley (champion chess grandmaster).