Weaving in France and the Low Countries, was the chief industry of the Middle Ages.
Each town prided itself upon the nature and quality of its products, vying with one another.
Astute buyers, just as in parts of Persia, India, and China, were able to recognize the textiles of one community from those of another.
Thus, a little Flemish village (now in northeastern France) was noted for the fine, white linen fabric woven upon its looms. The material was admirably adapted for the making of luxurious shirts, ruffs, neckbands, and when introduced into England in the early sixteenth century, king and courtiers demanded its use by their tailors.
It was then the English custom to call an importation by the name of the place from which it came; hence, merchants gave this cloth the name cambric, for that is how the Flemish name sounded in their ears, though the Flemish spelling was Kameric.
This village is now the town of Cambrai, and the fabric is more often of cotton than of linen. See also BATISTE.