This unusual surname is not at all what it seems. It is in fact residentail and of English and descibes as person who lived by either a footbridge made of stocks, (tree trunks) or from an area of ground which had formerly been cleared of tree stumps. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'stocc' meaning 'stock' or 'trunk of a tree', to which was added in Anglo-saxon times the suffix -er to imply a person who lived by or (later) worked at some topographical feature such as a bridge, (Bridger) brook (Brooker) etc. These forms of surname were particularly associated with the counties of Sussex, Kent, Surrey and Hampshire, in the early 14th Century. In addition there are many places called Stoke, including Stoke on Trent, North Stoke in Sussex, and Stoke in Kent as examples and several are the source of surnames. It is also said that in some instances the name may be occupational for a stocker i.e. one employed to fell or grub up trees. Early examples of the surname recordings include John Stokker, who in 1450 was recorded in the London rolls, and on April 10th 1566 Johanna Stoker, was christened at Cowfold, in Sussex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh le Stoker, which was dated 1227, at the Assize Court of Bedfordshire', during the reign of King Henry III, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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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