My local history group is transcribing a series of account books kept by the overseers of the poor in Woodchurch, a village in the English county of Kent. One of the transcribers has come across these two entries:
- Item paid John Prior for butons teap and cannis and makinge a coate for Widdow Hills boye
- Item pocketts tape and cannis for the waste bond and to skins
The word we are struggling to find a meaning for is 'cannis'. It looks as though it could be a plural of an item used in tailoring. Online searches of the OED and Google haven't produced any obvious solutions. Seventeenth-century spelling is notoriously phonetic, so the term could be 'cannes' or 'cans' or any similar-sounding variant. If there is anyone here familiar with historical clothing terms, we would love to hear from you.