Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nokes n.

[John-a-Nokes was, with Tom-a-Stiles, the precursor of John Doe and Richard Roe in legal jargon as generic names for otherwise anonymous plaintiffs and defendants; Also James Nokes, a comic actor of the Duke’s Company in 1660s who was celebrated for his portrayal of solemn fools, incl. Sir Nicholas Cully in Ethrege’s The Comical Revenge; or, Love in a Tub]

a fool, a dullard.

[[UK]Skelton Colyn Cloute (1550) Bi: What care they [...] Of Jacke of the Noke The pore people they yoke with sommons and citacyons].
[[UK]G. Harvey Pierce’s Supererogation 71: Written by one, that dares call a Dog a Dog. Imprinted by Iohn Anoke, and Iohn Astile, for the Bayly of Withernam].
[UK]Rochester ‘Tunbridge Wells’ in Works (1999) 49: As wise as Calf it looked, as big as Bully, / But handled, prov’ds a meere Sir Nicholas Cully; / A Bawling Fop, a Natural Nokes.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Nokes a Ninny or Fool, also a noted Droll but lately Dead.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 207: But who are you, good Mr. nokes, / That gape as if you’d swallow folks.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]R. Barham ‘The Lay of St. Cuthbert’ Ingoldsby Legends (1889) 324: Why are Ralph Ufford and Marny away? And De Nokes, and De Styles.