ExchequerPosted: April 22, 2014
I did a bit of research and discovered that the cloths were used to cover a special table that had raised sides so that things could not fall off. The stripes that made up the chequer pattern were about the width of a hand, and counters were placed at the top of the down stripes (or columns) to indicate whether the column contained pounds, shilling, or pence. The chequered cloth was then used to calculate and tally the taxes that were collected … almost like an analogue version of a modern computer spreadsheet! When everything was complete, the cloth was cleared and the calculations were ex-chequer (i.e. off the chequered cloth).
An interesting and inconsequential little bit of historical information that I hope amused my regular blog readers.