Green’s Dictionary of Slang

scouring n.

[scour v.1 ]

1. execution by hanging.

[UK]‘W.S.’ Lamentable Tragedie of Locrine IV iii: How haue you scaped hanging this long time? yfaith I haue scapt many a scouring this yeare.
[UK]A Newgate ex-prisoner A Warning for House-Keepers 8: A Private Thief is one that hath been in some Prison and scaped a Scouring.

2. imprisonment [some cits. with ‘escape/’scape’ may in fact refer to sense 1].

[UK] ‘A Display of the Headpiece and Codpiece Valour’ in Rump Poems and Songs II (1662) 91: He took the City, / By an Order from the mistaken Committee, / Where he scap’d a scowring, the more was the pitty.
[UK]N. Ward ‘A Trip to New England’ in Writings (1704) 168: One of these Bugbears [i.e. ‘Bishops, Bailiffs, and Bastards’], I confess, frighted me from the Blessings of my own dear Native Country; and forc’d me to the fatigue of a long Voyage, to escape Scouring.
[UK]R. Estcourt Prunella 11: Sister, for all your Pouts and Louring, You must not think to ’scape a Scouring.
[UK]J. Miller Humours of Oxford V ii: I had best make to Shelter, to save myself a scouring.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 118: But honest folks you keep at distance. / And very kindly lend assisstance / To whores and rogues, who ’scape a scouring.

In compounds

scouring-house (n.)

a prison.

J. Philpot in Coverdale Letters of Marytyrs (1838) 178: Oh, happy be you, that you be now in the scouring house; for shortly you shall be set upon the celestial shelf.