Ashley \a-sh-ley\ as a boy's name (also used as girl's name Ashley), is pronounced ASH-lee. It is of Old English origin, and the meaning of Ashley is "ash meadow". Surname and place name. As a given name, Ashley is now used mostly for girls. First recorded as a given name in the 16th century, but its wider use was probably inspired by the Earl of Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper in the early 19th century, who was a noted humanitarian who inspired much of the legislation designed to improve conditions among working classes. Literary: Ashley Wilkes is the man long loved by Scarlett O'Hara in Margaret Mitchell's novel "Gone With the Wind". Ashley is also an English saint's name (17th century).
For more information, see also the related name Ashton.