Beadle

Beadle, sometimes spelled "bedel", is an official of a church or synagogue who may usher, keep order, make reports, and assist in religious functions; or a minor official who carries out various civil, educational, or ceremonial duties.

The term has pre-Conquest origins in Old English, deriving from the Old English bydel ("herald, messenger from an authority, preacher"), itself deriving from beodan ("to proclaim", which has a modern descendant in the English verb bid). In Old English it was a title given to an Anglo-Saxon officer who summoned householders to council. It is also known in Medieval Latin as bedellus.

In England, the word came to refer to a parish constable of the Anglican Church, one often charged with duties of charity. A famous fictional constabulary beadle is Mr. Bumble from Charles Dickens's classic novel Oliver Twist, who oversees the parish workhouse and orphanage of a country town more than 75 miles from London. The work of a real constabulary beadle of Whitechapel in that period may be exemplified by Richard Plunkett.

In the Church of Scotland, the title is used for one who attends the minister during divine service as an assistant.

In Judaism, the term beadle or sexton (in Hebrew: שמש‎, translit. shammash) is sometimes used for the gabbai, the caretaker or "man of all work", in a synagogue. Moishe the Beadle, the caretaker of a synagogue in Sighet in the 1940s, is an important character in Night by Elie Wiesel.

In the medieval universities, beadles were students chosen by instructors to act as assistants: carrying books, taking attendance, and assisting in classroom management.

This page was last edited on 13 March 2018, at 23:48.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beadle under CC BY-SA license.

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