E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Showy, worthless finery; a corruption of St. Audrey. At the annual fair of St. Audrey, in the isle of Ely, showy lace called St. Audreys lace was sold, and gave foundation to our word tawdry, which means anything gaudy, in bad taste, and of little value. (See TANTHONY.)
Tawdry. Astrigmenta, timbriæ, sen fasciolæ, emptæ nundinis S. Ethelredæ.Henshawe.
Come, you promised me a tawdry lace and a pair of sweet gloves.Winters Tale, iv. 4.