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DZiG Group

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Nathan Moore
Nathan Moore


The bedel (from medieval Latin pedellus or bidellus, occasionally bidellus generalis, from Old High German bital, pital, "the one who invites, calls"; cognate with beadle) was, and is to some extent still, an administrative official at universities in several European countries, and often had a policiary function at the time when universities had their own jurisdiction over students.


The office can be traced back as far as 1245, and originated in Paris. In French universities, the position was frequently open to purchase. In the medieval English universities in Oxford and Cambridge, the bedel was an administrative assistant of the chancellor and the proctors. The bedel was, among other things, to collect fines and fees, keep rolls of scholars with the license to teach, and participate in ceremonial dress in academic processions and on other similar occasions. There were six bedels at Oxford, one superior and one inferior bedel for each faculty, while Cambridge had only two (Cobban, p. 231f); Oxford today has four bedels representing Divinity, Law, Medicine, and Arts. The University of St Andrews has six bedels at official ceremonies and still maintains at least a single Bedel at the weekly United College chapel service. The office of Esquire Bedell is still preserved for purely ceremonial purposes at some other universities, including the University of Southampton in the UK.

bedel m (oblique plural bedeaus or bedeax or bediaus or bediax or bedels, nominative singular bedeaus or bedeax or bediaus or bediax or bedels, nominative plural bedel)

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