1) This was one of several words for human urine.
A York brewer was accused in 1588 of contaminating his beer with urine, although the exact words uttered by the accused were that he did put washe in his drinke. Until quite recently the untreated liquid had a variety of industrial uses, especially in cloth-making. It was sometimes called ‘old wash’, and in 1716 John Whitehead spoke of going to his father’s house in Almondbury to begg some old wash to wett some pieces of cloath before he carryed them to Mill. This practice was commented on by the Wakefield cloth frizzer John Brearley: 1762 weeting out and washing leaves some cloths surpriseing thin. An alternative term for urine was ‘lee’ or ‘chamber lee’. John Kaye of Farnley Tyas wrote that upon 26 of Maye 1589 Alice Hepworth [was] sentt by hir Master Edmonde Kay for a kytt full of wash or chamber lee and later in the same anecdote it was called wesshe. This was the usual dialect spelling and various informants over the years have told me that the lane which leads from just below the Conservative Club in Longwood to Quarmby Fold is called locally Weshlickerloyn. An undated entry in a seventeenth-century account book recommends howe to die blewe out of white and it begins with the instruction to Taike 12 gallans of chamberlee and sett it on the fire. When it was close to boiling it was removed and a quarter of a pound of indigo was mixed in before adding the cloth or wool and stirring well.
2) To cover with a coating of precious metal, a term regularly used by coiners.
1680 to search houses for clipping, washinge and diminishing the King’s Coyne, Halifax
1696 last week I took two or three new counterfeit sixpences but exquisitely made and washed with silver being copper within, Hatfield.