a boggards' prison

Nimrod

Senior Member
Croatian, Croatia
Could this mean "a prison for poor people/vagabonds"?

The setting of the book is 15th century London, the main character is trying to enter it, (he looks very poor and shabby) and the guard tells him:

"Look, be off with you," said the more officious gurad. "If you don't move on, I'll throw you in the boggards' prison myself."

I found that "boggard" means "bogey", (which I also had to look up, to see what it means other than "enemy aircfraft") but I'm not getting how it can fit into the context.

I would very much appreciate any help you can give me! Thank you.
 
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    It doesn't mean anything to me in this context. How reliable is the source of this quote? Perhaps the author has misused the word. Is boggard explained elsewhere?

    A boggard, or more usually (to me), boggart, is a kind of ghost or goblin, part of English folklore.
     

    Nimrod

    Senior Member
    Croatian, Croatia
    It doesn't mean anything to me in this context. How reliable is the source of this quote? Perhaps the author has misused the word. Is boggard explained elsewhere?

    A boggard, or more usually (to me), boggart, is a kind of ghost or goblin, part of English folklore.
    Yes, I did find that meaning and then I got very confused.
    The source is the novel Endymion Spring, published by Puffin (penguin gruop), i don't think it was misused.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I suspect, then, that it is an anglicization or corruption of "Bocardo Prison" a medieval prison in Oxford. As I understand it the name either comes from a nickname meaning privy (to describe the unpleasant state of the prison) or an allusion to Bocardo which is a mnemonic name for a type of syllogism, the logic of which, like a prison, is hard to escape. This sounds fanciful to me, but it has been suggested. These mnemonics were used in the study of logic during medieval times.

    It's also possible, that if the prison's name does mean "privy" that Boggard (which meant privy) was the original name, and Bocardo is a later fancy euphemism for that word.

    I think I might start calling the lavatory the Bocardo from now on :)
     

    Txiri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Not very long ago on another forum I saw some commentary on "blaggards´ prison". It didn´t ring a bell until someone additionally offered the spelling variant of "blackguards´ " prison (for rogues).

    Does anyone think this might be a connection?
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Not much help from the Shorter OED, which calls it "related to bog and bogle".

    I did find this snippet:
    Bra. May you live to be arrested of the pox, and die
    in a dungeon! may inns o' court gentlemen, at next
    trimming, shave your ears and noses off, and then duck
    you in their own boggards ! [Exeunt.
    That could be bogs, or something considerably worse.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    I, too, thought of a connection with "blackguard" (pronounced "blagg-ard"). It sounds so very similar.

    I, too, shall be calling the lavatory the "bocardo" from now on.
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Not very long ago on another forum I saw some commentary on "blaggards´ prison". It didn´t ring a bell until someone additionally offered the spelling variant of "blackguards´ " prison (for rogues).

    Does anyone think this might be a connection?
    I did think of blackguards/blaggards, but if I think if it is this then it's an anachronism, as blackguard didn't come to mean rogue or criminal until some time more like the 18th century. Also, I think blag- or black- are a little too unlike bog- whereas -ard and -art are very common endings (braggart, sluggard, etc.) signifying a type of person.

    EDIT: I didn't make it clear that I didn't make up the Bocardo/Boggard connection for the prison. I found it here.

    The prison was called Bocardo by 1391; the name is usually considered to be derived from a technical logician's term for a syllogism, and to imply that the prison, like the syllogism, was an awkward trap from which to escape. It has also been suggested, however, that the name was derived from 'boccard' or 'boggard', meaning a privy, and referred to its insanitary state.
    Bog was the slang word for lavatory when I was young, I expect it's still used. I wonder if it is short for boggard, or whether it's simply an allusion to a marshy latrine.
     

    Nimrod

    Senior Member
    Croatian, Croatia
    Wow, this is the first time any query of mine started up such an interesting discussion!

    I want to thank all of you for your input and help!
    I'm going to try and use Matching Mole's input., if I can translate it nicely to Croatian. As always, deadline approaching.

    Thanks again!
     
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