This is an English topographical surname of some antiquity and denotes someone who lived near a conspicuous Oak tree or in or by an Oak wood. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century "ac", Middle English "Oke", meaning "Oak (tree)". Some modern-day bearers of the surname may well derive from any of the minor places named with the word "Oak" or "Oake", such as "Oake" in Somerset, or "Oaken" in Staffordshire. It is possible also that the surname has arisen from a nickname for someone who was very strong as in "strong as an Oak". There are many variations of the name today, from "O(a)ke" and "Oak(e)s" to "Oakker". Sir Henry Oakes, second baronet (1756 - 1827), was a distinguished lieutenant - general in the East India Company, Service. A Coat of Arms granted to the family has the blazon of a quartered shield 1st and 4th gules, two lions combatant argent, 2nd and 3rd sable, a fesse between six acorns ore. The crest being an oak tree fructed between two lions combatant, and the motto: Persevere. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam at the Ock, which was dated 1273, in the "Shropshire Hundred Rolls", 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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