This name, with variant spellings Oak(e), Oke, Noak(e), Nock and Noke(s), derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ac", (Medieval English "Oke") meaning an oak tree, and was originally given as a topographic name to someone whose residence was located by a prominent Oak tree, perhaps one designated as the village place. The surname was first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below). One, Thomas del Oke appears in the "Hundred Rolls of Berkshire", dated 1275. The forms Noakes, Noke etc., result from the Medieval English "atten oke". The "n" in the prefix "atte" meaning "at the" was fused with the name to give such early entries as philip attenoke (London, 1275) and John atte Noke (Sussex, 1327). In 1332 one, Robert Atte Nokes was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire. Eventually the "atte" was entirely dropped. On March 13th 1636, Catherin Noakes and Thomas Key were married in St. Gregory by St. Pauls, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam at the Ock, which was dated 1273, "The Hundred Rolls of Shropshire", during the reign of King Edward I, 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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