from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The ancient right (usually conferred by royalty) to hold a local court of justice and levy specific fees and fines. A 'soke' or 'soken' was the area over which this right was established. More specifically, the 'resort' (right) of specific farmers to have their grain ground at a specific mill or, inversely, the right of a mill to that custom. Also, specifically, a right of prosecution and judgement. Older meanings include a place that is regularly frequented. The word 'soken' is used in Stow (1598) in a way that implies regular usage / clear meaning, eg. with reference to Portsoken Ward, outside the walls of the City of London which originated as a 'liberty' (a practically synonymous term) for a guild of knights.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A toll. See soc, n., 2.
  • n. A district held by socage.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A district or territory within which certain privileges or powers were exercised; specifically, a district held by tenure of socage.
  • n. An exclusive privilege claimed by a miller of grinding all the corn used within the manor in which his mill stands, or of being paid for the same as if actually ground.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English socne ("district held by a socage") (compare from Medieval Latin (Anglo-Latin) sōca ("right of jurisdiction"), see soke), from Old English sōcn ("jurisdiction, prosecution, soke", literally "act of seeking"), from Proto-Germanic *sōknō (“seeking, inquiry”), from Proto-Indo-European *sāg(')- (“to track”). Akin to Gothic 𐍃𐍉𐌺𐌽𐍃 (sokns, "controversy"), Old English sacu ("legal case, dispute"), sēcan ("to seek"). More at sake, seek, soke.


  • Fitzwalter might choose from the sokemanry, or inhabitants of the soken, a Sokeman

    The Customs of Old England

  • Suppose that a thief had been taken in the soken, stocks and a prison were in readiness for him; and he was thence carried before the Mayor to receive his sentence, but not until he had been conveyed to Fitzwalter's court and within his franchise.

    The Customs of Old England

  • In the City of London the Fitzwalters had a soken extending from the wall of the

    The Customs of Old England

  • Here it should be premised that under Norman rule the King's justice or the King's peace was assured by the grant of soke and soken -- the former being the power of hearing and determining causes and levying fines and forfeitures, and the latter the area within which soke and other privileges were exercised.

    The Customs of Old England

  • Appendant to this soken were various rights and privileges.

    The Customs of Old England

  • Having thus soken what is requisite in Gesture, I shall next treat how the Eye ought to be governed.

    The Gentlewomans Companion


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