Were you born in a barn?

Posted by Woodchuck on August 16, 2002

In Reply to: Were you born in a barn? posted by amanda thomson on August 16, 2002

: The phrase "were you born in a barn" meaning why have you left the door open was originally "were you born in Bardney".

: Bardney in Lincolnshire was the site of an important monastery Tupholme Abbey and when the king Saint Oswald was killed they tried to bring his bones into the abbey but the monks kept the doors shut...

: ...the upshot of all this was the monks were subsequently forced to leave the doors open...

: I'm sure this is vaguely right...can anyone confirm or otherwise?

Quote from lincsheritage.org:

"Do you come from Bardney?"
The story of the arrival of the bones of St.Oswald at the monastery has given rise to a well-known Lincolnshire saying. On the night that Oswald's bones arrived, the monks shut the abbey gates and refused to allow the coffin in. During the night a 'pillar of light' shone skywards from the cart and convinced the monks that Oswald was indeed a saint and that they had been wrong to shut his coffin out. Ever after, so the story goes, they left their gates wide open - hence the saying "Do you come from Bardney?", meaning that you have left a door open.

End Quote

"Born in a barn" could've developed on its own, however, as the barn doors are opened in early morning to let the cows out to pasture and remain open until the cows are herded back in for milking in early evening.

Does anyone know if "born in a barn" a mondegreen or did the two phrases develop separately?