E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The half-way house between earth and heaven, where the patriarchs and prophets, after death, await the coming of Messiah. According to the Roman Catholic notion, this is the hell, or hads, into which Jesus Christ descended after He gave up the ghost on the cross. Limbo, and sometimes Limbo patrum, is used for quod, jail, confinement.
I have some of them in limbo patrum, and there they are like to dance these three days.Shakespeare: Henry VIII., v. 4.