E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A childs play, with a piece of twine. Corrupt for cratchcradle or manger cradle, in which the infant Saviour was laid. Cratch is the French crèch (a rack or manger), and to the present hour the racks which stand in fields for cattle to eat from are called cratches.