This long-established surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a topographical name for someone who lived near an oak tree or in an oak wood, deriving from the Middle English "oke", oak, ultimately from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ac", with "-er", denoting "dweller at". Toponymics formed by the addition of "-er" to some topographical feature for example, brook, oak, were particularly widespread in Sussex from the mid 13th Century, and are also found in Surrey, Kent, Essex, and to a lesser extent Suffolk.Because natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages, surnames of the topographical type were consequently widely distributed. One Adam at the Ock, and a Thomas del Oke were recorded respectively in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Shropshire and Buckinghamshire, and in 1279, Walter Oaker appears in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire. On September 26th 1609, Ann Oaker and Richard Melton were married at St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, London. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is described thus: "Sable, on a fess argent between six acorns or, a cross crosslet fitchee between two oak leaves slipped vert. Crest - A demi leopard rampant gorged with an antique crown, holding in the dexter paw an acorn branch fructed all proper, and supporting with the sinister a cross crosslet". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Oker, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when 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.
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