According to the famous International Genealogical Index, this surname is English and recorded as Roake, Rock, Rocke, and the diminutives Rockie, Rockey, and Ruckie. It has several possible origins. The first is residential and described somebody who lived near a notable crag or outcrop. This is from the pre 7th century word 'rocc'. The second source is again residential, but this time for somebody who lived near a large oak tree often used for ceremonial and council meetings. This is a fusing of the Middle English phrase "atter oke", meaning at the oak tree and probably responsible for the spelling as Roake. Thirdly it can be locational either from the village of Rock in Northumberland, which is on a rock, or from Rock in Worcestershire, which is the fused form of 'atter oke'. Fourthly it can be occupational for a spinner of wool or a maker of distaffs. This is from the English word 'rok', meaning a distaff. Amongst the surviving recordings in the registers of the city of London are the marriage of John Rock and Joane Lowen on November 12th 1581 at St. Giles' Cripplegate, and the marriage of Richard Rockey to Sara Cooke at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on March 10th 1636. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert del Roc. This was dated 1182, in Lofvenberg's 'Studies of Middle English Local Surnames', for the county of Worcestershire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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