- 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 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 (sokns, “controversy”), Old English sacu (“legal case, dispute”), sēcan (“to seek”). More at sake, seek, soke.