Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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Philip and cheyney
[phillipp and cheney; phillipp and cheenye; phillipe & cheny; phillipe & chena; phillip and chenye; phillip and cheney; phillip and chena; phillip & china; phillip & chenye; phillip & cheny; phillip & cheney; phillip & cheeney; phelp]
The term is derived from two distinct French terms which together indicate the structure of this fabric. 'Philip' is derived from the Old French 'felpe', meaning 'peluche' in modern French, and PLUSH in English. 'Cheyney' comes from the French 'chaine' indicating in non-technical terms that a hardspun warp YARN was being used for both WARP and WEFT. Hence Philip and Cheyney is a Plush on a ground of all warp yarns. By the Dutch it was called "Phelp en schering" and by British custom officials it was known as 'Phelps'.
It was probably invented in the early years of the seventeenth century by Dutch immigrant weavers in Norwich, and its manufacture quickly spread to Canterbury and elsewhere. The complexity of the weaving techniques required a specialist weaver [Kerridge (1985)]. Although it was probably most often made of WORSTED only, the positioning of it in probate inventories suggests that a composition of mixed fibres was not uncommon. Although the term 'Philip and Cheyney' had a second meaning similar to 'Tom, Dick and Harry', as a fabric it was by no means necessarily of inferior quality, being valued from 1s 6d to 3s a yard. An quotation in the OED notes its use to make a COAT for a woman of high status. It was widely available during the first half of the seventeenth century and quotations in the OED further indicate it was used both for FURNISHING and APPAREL. By the 1670s it appears to have gone out of fashion, though other plush fabrics remained in vogue, as did stuffs simply termed CHEYNEYs.
A reputed solid substance, supposed by the alchemists to have the property of turning base metals into GOLD. It is sometimes identified with ELIXIR and thus to have the property to extend life indefinitely and to cure all wounds. A so-called philosophers' stone has been noted only once in the Dictionary Archive, not as one might expect among the possessions of a APOTHECARY and would-be alchemist, but in the stock of a London craftsman making CUTLERY. What ever he had, it seems to have been quite valuable, since his 'box of odd things standing on the stall and a peece of phylosophers stone weighing 3 pounds' was valued altogether at 30s [Inventories (1671)]. Today there is a renewed and sudden interest in this mysterious object as it featured large in the first volume of Harry Potters adventures, 'Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone' [Rowling (1997)].
Found as 'Photaes' in other sources, the term is possibly derived from the Hindi 'phuta' meaning 'variegated'. An Indian TEXTILE, included by Milburn in his lists of INDIAN - PIECE GOODS imported from Bengal [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)]. Its importation was seen as a threat to British manufacture and it was therefore banned for home use, though it continued to be imported for re-export to Africa among 'India goods for Africa' [Acts (1766)].