Caytis - possibly 19C Kentish dialect

I've come across a word "caytis", but can only find a single reference to it - a book from 1909 by Percy Maylam called The Hooden Horse, where it says "... made of brilliant coloured ribbon, in Kent called 'caytis' ...". There are a few other references in other books and websites, but all of them are effectively quoting Maylam.

I can't find this word anywhere else - not in the free online version of the OED, not in the "Dictionary of the Kentish Dialect and Provincialisms" (Parish & Shaw, 1888), not in the "English Dialect Dictionary" (Wright, 1898), nowhere in Google. I have tried some alternative spellings such as kaytis, with no success.

Can anyone find it elsewhere, or suggest where I might look?


  • Incidentally, the vaguely similar Welsh custom of the Mari Lwyd also uses ribbons - but I've not managed to find any special name for them.

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