E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Flash Men and Flash Notes.
Between Buxton, Leek, and Macclesfield is a wild country called the Flash, from a chapel of that name. Here used to live a set of pedlars, who hawked about buttons, ribbons, and other articles made at Leek, together with handkerchiefs and small wares from Manchester. They were known on the road as Flash-men, and frequented fairs and farmhouses. They paid, at first, ready-money; but when they had established a credit, paid in promissory notes, which were rarely honoured. They were ultimately put down by the magistracy.