Soke (legal)

__NOTOC__The term soke (in Old English: "soc", connected ultimately with "secan" (to seek)), at the time of the Norman Conquest of England generally denoted "jurisdiction", but due to vague usage probably lacks a single precise definition.

In some cases "soke" denoted the right to hold a court, and in others only the right to receive the fines and forfeitures of the men over whom it was granted when they had been condemned in a court of competent jurisdiction. Its primary meaning seems to have involved "seeking"; thus "soka faldae" was the duty of seeking the lord's court, just as "secta ad molendinum" was the duty of seeking the lord's mill. The Leges also speaks of pleas "in socna, id est, in quaestione sua" (pleas which are in his investigation).

Evidently, however, not long after the Norman Conquest considerable doubt prevailed about the correct meaning of the word. In some versions of the much-used tract "Interpretationes uocabulorum" soke is defined: "aver fraunc court", and in others as "interpellacio maioris audientiae", which glosses somewhat ambiguously as "claim ajustis et requeste".

The word "soke" also frequently appears in association with "sak" or "sake" in the alliterative jingle "sake and soke", but the two words lack etymological links. The word "sake" represents the Anglo-Saxon "sacu", originally meaning "a matter or cause" (from "sacan" (to contend)), and later the right to have a court. The word "soke", however; appears more commonly, and appears to have had a wider range of meaning.

The term "soke", unlike "sake", sometimes applied to the district over which the right of jurisdiction extended (compare Soke of Peterborough.)

Adolphus Ballard argued that the interpretation of the word "soke" as "jurisdiction" should be accepted only where it stands for the fuller phrase, "sake and soke", and that "soke" standing by itself denoted services Certainly, many passages in the Domesday Book support this contention, but in other passages "soke" seems to serve merely as a short expression for "sake and soke". The difficulties about the correct interpretation of these words will probably not unravel until historians elucidate more fully the normal functions and jurisdiction of the various local courts.

A sokeman belonged to a class of tenants, found chiefly in the eastern counties, occupying an intermediate position between the free tenants and the bond tenants or villeins. As a general rule they had personal freedom, but performed many of the agricultural services of the villeins. Historians generally suppose they bore the rank of "sokemen" because they belonged within a lord's "soke" or jurisdiction. Ballard, however, held that a sokeman was merely a man who rendered services, and that a sokeland was land from which services were rendered, and was not necessarily under the jurisdiction of a manor.

The law term, socage, used of this tenure, arose by adding the French suffix "-age" to "soc".




* Ballard, Adolphus (1906). "The Domesday Inquest". London: Methuen & Co.
* Baring, Francis Henry (1909). "Domesday Tables for the Counties of Surrey, Berkshire, Middlesex, Hertford, Buckingham & Bedford & for the New Forest". London: The St. Catherine Press, Ltd.
* Maitland, Frederic William (1897). "Domesday Book and Beyond; Three Essays in the Early History of England". Cambridge: University Press.
* Round, John Horace (1909). "Feudal England; Historical Studies on the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries". London: S. Sonnenschein.
* James Tait (1897). Review of "The Domesday Inquest". In "English Historical Review" 12 pp. 768–777. Also in "Red Book of the Exchequer" ("Rolls Series"), iii. 1035.


External links

* [ The Story of Our Law for Little Children (A simple history of the word Socage)]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Soke — The word soke has several meanings: * Soke (legal), an early Western jurisdictional concept. * Soke (dance) or eke is a Tongan stick dance, originating from Wallis and Futuna. *, a Japanese title meaning head of the family, and is usually used to …   Wikipedia

  • Sake and soke — Grants of sake and soke allowed the granter to intercept the fines and other profits of justice relating to his own estate which would otherwise have gone to the king; the rights of sake and soke are particularly associated with *bocland. [<… …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • Socage — was one of the feudal duties and hence land tenure forms in the feudal system. A farmer, for example, held the land in exchange for a clearly defined, fixed payment to be made at specified intervals to his feudal lord, who in turn had his own… …   Wikipedia

  • Peterborough — This article is about the city in the United Kingdom. For other uses, see Peterborough (disambiguation). Peterborough   City and unitary authority   …   Wikipedia

  • Aydın Province — Infobox Province TR region = Aegean name = Aydin licence = 09 total population = 998,621 area code= 256 area= 8007 urban population=150,000 turkname=AydınAydın is a province of southwestern Turkey, located in the Aegean Region . The provincial… …   Wikipedia

  • Henry de Bracton — was appointed to the coram rege, the advisory council of Henry III of England Henry of Bracton, also Henry de Bracton, also Henrici Bracton, or Henry Bratton also Henry Bretton (ca. 1210–68) was an English jurist. He is famous now for his… …   Wikipedia

  • Moot hill — A moot hill or mons placiti (statute hill)[1] is a hill or mound historically used as an assembly or meeting place. In early medieval Britain, such hills were used for moots , meetings of local people to settle local business. Among other things …   Wikipedia

  • List of law topics (S-Z) — NOTOC Law [From Old English lagu something laid down or fixed ; legal comes from Latin legalis , from lex law , statute ( [ searchmode=none Law] , Online Etymology Dictionary; [http://www.m… …   Wikipedia

  • Francis Trigge Chained Library — is a library in Grantham, Lincolnshire, England which was founded in 1598.In 1598 Francis Trigge, Rector of Welbourne in Lincolnshire, arranged for a library to be set up in the room over the South Porch of St. Wulfram s Church, Grantham for the… …   Wikipedia

  • Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu — Das Abzeichen ist das Bujinkan Symbol und Graduierungsabzeichen vom 5. bis 9. Dan Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu (武神館武道体術) [buːdʑingkan] oder vollständig Bujinkan Dojo Budo Taijutsu (武神館道場武道体術), auch Ninjutsu oder meist im Internet Chat BBT genannt, ist… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.