1) A tree with compound leaves, which when felled provides a hard pale timber.
In the historic period the ash has been one of the dominant trees in the Yorkshire landscape, equally as important as the oak. It is an element in major place-names which date from the period of Anglian and Norse settlement, for example, Askern, Askwith, Esholt and Eshton. Numerous minor places are named Ash or Ashes and it is also an occasional generic, as in Longheshe. Barkston Ash which served as the wapentake meeting place may preserve the memory of a distinctive tree. Particular ashes were part of the community’s collective memory: a map of Rastrick dated 1625 has a sketch of an ash tree and is accompanied by a note saying that the Ashe tree is felled and was cut downe within the memorye of man. It was highly valued as a source of timber: 1292-3 De fraxinis venditis ad travours viijli iiijd, Bolton Priory: a clause in the leases of Settrington tenants obliged them to plant and preserve a number of oke or Ashe Timber trees yearly and these were regularly counted: 1599-1600 Ashe tymber trees super le Northflatt 120, Settrington. It was also a tree used by specialist craftsmen: 1422 Pro j fraxino empta pro haxshafftes, York
c.1565 two fayre Ashes for Bolles and Dysshes, Pickering
1617 William Slee … doth usually go into my Spellow wodd … and ther getteth to sell Yonge ashes to sett, oxe bowes, wayne stowers, leasshaftes, pichforke shaftes, rake shaftes, heads and for teeth, Brandsby.