From Lace: a History, Santina M. Levey published in 1983 by the Victoria & Albert Museum inn association with W. S. Maney & Son. Ltd. p.92:
"Yet another development of the 1840's was the widespread adoption of crochet, both inIreland and elsewhere. The origins of this technique are obscure but it seems probable that it developed in France during the 17th century. Hooked needles were used in both the passementerie and lace industries and, in France, the 'stitch' used to link the pieces of a part of lace was known as a 'crochetage'. The development of this stitch into an independant technique is suggested by the Letters Patent which were granted to the French Mercers in 1653 and which listed among their goods all forms of lace and braid, including 'cordons facon de broderie, enriches en jolives qui se faconnent a l'escuille, aux des doights, au crochet, et au fuseau'. The new technique was probably stimulated by the vogue, during the second half of the seventeenth century, for gimp and all froms of metal lace and passementerie. There are a number of French references to crochet from this period and they suggest theat the term was used both for the hooked needle and for a product. [...] 'Chain lace' appears to have been the equivalent English term for the French chainettes de crochet, although the term probably referred originally to an open cord or braid. The earliest references date from the mid-sixteenth century; the Earl of Leicster had beds 'garneshed with a chaine lace of goulde and silver-copper', and it also featured in the Wardrobe Accounts of Queen Elizabeth. The appearance of late seventeenth-century lace is perhaps suggested by the little piece in figure 392. This border has a rather clumsy design which none the less relates to better quality laces of the late seventeenth century and its chained structure can only have been formed with a hooked needle in the manner of crochet."Whew, I'm personally a little confused, since she dates the invention of crochet to the 17th century, then later says that the earliest reference is from the 16th century. Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd by Janet Arnold quotes one of those wardrobe accounts Santina Levey mentions: "Enbrauderinge of a paire of Sleves for a Wastcoat of fyne lynnen Clothe wrought allover with a worke of white Cheyne silke lace powdered full of stitches for workemanshipp therof xls. Item for v oz of Cheyne lace and silke spente upon the same sleves at iijs iiijd thounce...." p. 145
The photograph mentioned in the Levy quote has the lines of the design all done in chain stitch, with no solid areas at all. It looks a little like the 16th century braided bobbin laces (not the tape ones) only wider, and with the more realistic rather than geometric design that the technique allows.
I had been thinking of doing a piece for Pike or TI giving crochet directions for imitating 16th century bobbin laces for people who want the look and don't care about total authenticity. Now I am beginning to think that this is exactly the thing described here and it's actually correct (eerie huh?). I'm confused though, by the description 'powdered full of stitches'. I can't think of anything in the one photo I have that would fit that description. If you come across something - please let me know.