Home >> Cyclopedia Of Knowledge >> Barter to Censorship Of Press >> Beadle


court, beadles and bedels

BEADLE, the messenger or apparitor of a court, who cites persons to appear to what is alleged against them. It is pro bably in this sense that we are to under stand the bedelli, or under-bailiffs of ma nors, mentioned in several parts of the Domesday Survey. Spelman, Somner, and Watts all agree in the derivation of beadle from the Saxon byael, a crier, and that from bib, to publish, as in bid ding the banns of matrimony. The bedelli of manors probably acted as criers in the lord's court. The beadle of a forest, as Lord Coke informs us in his Fourth Institute, was an officer who not only warned the forest courts and executed process, but made an proclamations.

It appears from the Reports of the Commissioners of Corporation Inquiry (1835), that inferior officers, called Beadles, were appointed in forty-four boroughs out of upwards of two hundred visited by the commissioners.

Bishop Kennett, in the Glossary to his Parochial Antiquities of Oxfordshire, says that rural deans had formerly their beadles to cite the clergy and church officers to visitations and execute the orders of the court Christian. Parochial

and church beadles were probably in their origin persons of this description, though now employed in more menial services.

Bedel, or Beadle, is also the name of an officer in the English universities, who in processions, &c. precedes the chancellor or vice-chancellor, bearing a mace. In Oxford there are three esquire and three yeomen bedels, each attached to the respective faculties of divinity, medicine and arts, and law. In Cambridge there are three esquire bedels and one yeoman bedel. The esquire bedels in the university of Cambridge, beside at tending the vice-chancellor on public solemnities, attend also the professors and respondents, collects fines and penalties, and summon to the Chancellor's court all members of the senate. (Ducange's Gloss. in voce Bedellus ; Kennet, Paroch. Antiq. vol. ii. Gloss. ; Gen. Introd. to Domesday Book, 8vo. edit. vol. i. p. 247; Camb. and Oxf. Univ. Calendars.)