Surname Origin

The origin of the surname BEDEL & variants

Brief Etymology

  • from Old English bydel
  • Middle English form is bedele
  • Today’s English forms are beadle, bedel, bedell

Some Definitions of the Name

Earliest meaning was probably the “town-crier”; one who went through the streets making announcements

Later, the word meant an assistant to a bailiff or a sheriff, and then an officer executing orders of a magistrate.

Beadles were frequently used by Shakespeare in plays.

Bedells and Bedels are the term for those who appear lead the university dignitaries in academic processions. In modern times, the old English Universities [founded in the 12th Century], spell the titles differently: Oxford uses Bedel and Cambridge uses Bedell.

beadle – current definition [from American Heritage Dictionary, by Houghton Mifflin Company] A minor parish official in an English church whose duties include keeping order and ushering during services.

Historical Uses of the Surname Beadle

  • Brictmarus Bedel, year 1066
  • Richard Budel, year 1148
  • Robert le Budel, year 1327
  • Richard Bedle, year 1541
  • John Biddle, year 1655
  • William Beadle, 1664

References include English Ancestral Names by JR Dolan, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. publisher

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