This most interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a nickname surname given to someone who bore a fancied resemblance to a rook, or to one who had very dark hair. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hroc", a rook. Rooke and Rook are other surnames deriving from this source, while Rook(e)s is a patronymic form. However, some early examples of the surname such as Robert of ye Rook (London, 1318) and Henry del Rook (Staffordshire, 1332), point clearly to a local name of some kind.The first of these recordings could be a house sign, while the second may be a variant of "Rock", from the Middle English "rocc", rock. Early examples of the surname include William le Roke, recorded in 1243 in the Assize Court Rolls of Somerset; William Ruk, mentioned in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296; Richard le Rouke, listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset in 1327; and Adam Rucke, noted in 1327, in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. Samuell, son of William Ruck, was christened on May 18th 1561, at St. Andrew Undershaft, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Roc, which was dated 1185, in the "Records of the Knight's Templars in England in the 12th Century", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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