1) A coarse fabric of silk, of mohair and wool, or of these mixed with silk, often stiffened with gum.

The OED has references from 1562 and some Yorkshire examples date from that time: 1568 a gowne of grograine furred with Conye, Healaugh

1607 a silke grogeram cloake, Whitley

1655 one cloake of grogorme with a lace, Babthorpe. An Ovenden clothier began weaving Grograms in 1783 and an example of it as a nickname is found in that part of the West Riding: 1669 John Whiteley alias Grogeram, Rishworth. It can be compared with French ‘grosgrain’ first recorded here in 1869 and entered separately in the OED.One or two earlier references in the customs accounts for Hull may be relevant to the word’s origin: 1453 10 petris grofgarne

1463 2 pakes groff garne. These were imports from Danzig, and the editor defined ‘groff’ as ‘coarse’: the second element is the northern ‘garn’ for ‘yarn’. Examples of these two words independently are on record in Hull and York well before those in the OED. ‘Gruff’ for example is noted there only from 1533 but features regularly in the Hull accounts: 1463 1 pece panni linii Gruff

3 M ulnis groflewant. These were coarse linen cloths and the repeated use of ‘groff’ seems to indicate that it was the Dutch or Low German word, introduced here in commercial use. That was already the speculation in the OED. It seems possible that ‘grofgarne’ was an early form of grogram which would be easily confused with ‘grosgrain’.

dates 1453 1463 1533 1568 1607 1655 1669 1783

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