This unusual and very interesting name is an early medieval English occupational surname for someone who was employed to maintain the accuracy of a measure of corn by passing a flat stick or "strike" over the rim of the vessel holding the grain, thus levelling the grain and removing any excess. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century "striccan" or "straccian" to stroke or smooth, Middle English "strike(n)". This was an important and responsible position in medieval England, particularly since there was some dispute over the measure to be used. The terms of Magna Carta (1215) provided for one measure of corn (the London quarter) to be used nationally, and there was a constant struggle between local custom and law. The modern surname can be found as Strike, Striker and Straker. One John Straker married Dorethe Farefax on the 27th May 1543 at St. Michael's Bassishaw in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Stryke, which was dated 1296, in the Sussex Subsidy 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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