See also: sōken



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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.


soken (plural sokens)

  1. 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, e.g. 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.


  • Webster's Dictionary
  • Oxford English Dictionary
  • Stow's Survey of London

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