The History of Doilies

-ham along the road was put there by someone attractively named Blocc, and rendered today as Bloxham.

We're into the Redlands now; the soil red, rich and potent. These fringes of the Cotswold limestone are tinged with ironstone from nearby ore deposits, tilled by generations of farmers before Blocc came along, un-named and unsung.

In later years many men stamped their names on this land, but without lowering themselves to digging it. There was Tostig, for instance, King Harold's treacherous brother. I can't imagine him plodding behind plough and oxen. Or Morcar, or Edwin, Earl of Mercia, or Robert D'Oilly, Baron of Hook Norton.

Incidentally, this Robert was given his Barony on condition that he gave the king three shillings' worth of linen table-cloths per year. Since lace making was one of the specialities of the region, and because Robert wanted to show off, these table-cloths were beautifully embroidered by the D'Oilly ladies, and were reserved by the king's household for great occasions. They were known as "D'Oilly's linen".

But, by the nineteenth century, these "doilies" had shrunk to fussy plate-sized circles of lace. Three bob didn't go as far as the old days.

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