Esquire Bedell

The office of bedell is referred to in the 'original statutes' of the University (see Hackett, p. 101) where the alternative title of 'apparitor' is also given. In canon law apparitors had three functions, as lictores, where they carried their staves of office before the judge of the court and carried out his orders; as viatores, where they carried out administrative, policing, financial and judicial matters; and as praecones, where they acted as public cryers. Until the very end of the fifteenth century the University bedells were privileged persons rather than graduates. From at least 1276 one of two bedells was attached to the faculties of divinity and, until 1534, of canon law and the other to the faculty of arts. Up to 1276 there had been a third bedell, the Bedell in Glomery, answerable to the Master of Glomery, and so, indirectly, to the Archdeacon of Ely rather than to the Chancellor. Accordingly he was forbidden a place in university processions. By the late fourteenth century a third bedell is again found, apparently subsidiary to the other two, and there continued to be three esquire bedells until the death of George Leapingwell in 1863: the post of third bedell having been abolished in the new statutes of 1858. From the early sixteenth century the esquire bedells were M.A.s, usually married, resident in the town and persons of some substance. As such they acted as intermediaries between town and gown, and were often employed in negotiations over the acquisition of real property and also served as messengers to the court. They preceded the Chancellor or the Vice-Chancellor, as they still do, in formal processions, and accompanied graduands to the ceremonial disputations which formed part of the process of graduation. They also served warrants to attend the university courts on persons above the rank of B.A. Summonses to townsmen and undergraduates were served by the Yeoman, or Dog, Bedell, whose office was also abolished in 1858, some of his functions being taken over by the University Marshal. The Esquire Bedells were, until very recently, in charge of all ceremonial within the university, and were the arbiters of correctness in academical dress. As authorities on ceremonial they produced a series of manuals: Matthew Stokys' (MS) Liber Rerum Memorabilium (Stokys' Book: Misc.Collect.4); John Beverley's Account of the different ceremonies observed in the Senate House of the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, 1788); Adam Wall's Ceremonies observed in the Senate House of the University of Cambridge: with the forms of proceeding to all degrees, the manner of electing officers, tables of fees, and other articles relating to the University (Cambridge, 1798; revised by Henry Gunning in 1828). It is significant that the first three registraries were recruited from the ranks of the Esquire Bedells, but the dominance of King's between c. 1490 and 1560 is harder to explain, as is the frequent progression from bedell to printer between 1591 and 1680. The maces currently borne by the Esquire Bedells were presented by George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, in 1626; and the Yeoman Bedells mace, now carried by the Marshal, was presented by his successor as Chancellor, Henry Rich, Earl of Holland, in 1628. The Bedells were until the mid-twentieth century elected by the Senate but are now appointed by the Council. For an account of the office, see H. P. Stokes, The Esquire Bedells of the University of Cambridge (Cambridge Antiquarian Society, Octavo series, no. xlv, 1911) and also the catalogue of the 1981 exhibition of University Archives: 'Useful and picturesque officers'.

[1250]          Gossel, Robert     Benefactor
[1250]          Piroun, Ralph     Benefactor
[1260]          Walter de Wells     Benefactor
1270 c.         Thomas de Tuddenham     Benefactor
1270 c.         Thomas le Bedel
1270 c.         Walter de Oxford     Benefactor
1279 c.         Walter le Bedel     (perhaps the same as the last)
1287 c.         Robert the Bedell [1]     (perhaps Robert Carless, c. 1290, or Robert the Bedell, c. 1300)
1287 c.         Russell, William
1290 c.         Carless, Robert     Benefactor
1290 c.         Thomas de Watlington     Benefactor
1300 c.         Christopher the Bedell [1]
1300 c.         Reginald the Bedell     (but perhaps this is the Oxford bedell of that name)
1300 c.         Robert the Bedell [2]
1315 c.         Thurstan de Huningham     Benefactor; University Chaplain
1324 c.         Stephen de Eye     Benefactor
1347-68 c.      Richard de Betelee/Betelle     Benefactor
1350 c.         Adam de la More
1350 c.         Henry the Bedell
1355 c.         John de Arundel
1360 c.         John de Wesenham
1360 c.         Physwick, William
1360 c.         Wigmore, William
1408 c.         Bristow, Richard
1418 c.         Physwick, John
1440 c.         Woodlark, Robert     Provost of     K     1452
1450 c.         William Bedell
1455 c?         Christopher the Bedell [2]
1460 c.         Bury, Thomas
1460 c.         Dalton, William [1]
1460 c.         Semper, Alan     d. 1488
1470 c.         Canterbury, John     Fellow of     K
1485 c.         Bretherton, Laurence
1485 c.         Carsey, John     Benefactor     CC     Bedell of Divinity
1490 c.         Morgan, Philip     M.A.; Fellow of     K     Bedell of Arts. M.D. 1507
1495 c.         Bedford, John     Third Bedell; Benefactor
1500 c.         Pickerell, William     M.A.; Fellow of     JE     (perhaps just deputy for Morgan)
1505 c.         Hobbs (Hobys), Robert     M.A.; Fellow of     Resigned, c. 1529. D. 1555; Benefactor     K     Bedell of Arts. First Registrary
1509 c.         Cheke, Peter     Bedell of Divinity. D. 1530; Benefactor
1510 c.         Clark, John [1]     LL.B.?; Fellow of     K     Third Bedell. D. 1521; Benefactor
1521 c.         Adams, Thomas     Third Bedell. D. 1555; Benefactor
1529 c.         Sherwood, Thomas [1]     M.A.; Fellow of     JN     Bedell of Arts. Resigned 1549
1530            Mere, John     M.A.; Fellow of     K     Bedell of Divinity. Registrary 1543; d. 1558; Benefactor
[1530]          Urmston, James     M.A.; Bedell of Divinity
1539            Pykerell, John     (killed: KB 27/1115/Rex m.9; KB 9/541/127)
1549            Flued, William     Bedell of Arts
1550 c.         Bronsted, William     M.A.     PET     Bedell of Arts. D. 1563
1555            Muryell, William     Third Bedell. Dismissed; (Mere's diary), 1556
1556            Baxter, John     B.A.; Fellow of     CTH     Third Bedell. D. 1596
1557            Stokys (Stokes), Matthew     M.A.; Fellow of     K     Bedell of Divinity. Registrary 1558. Resigned, 1585. D. 1591
1563            Redman, John [2]     PET     Bedell of Arts. Resigned, c. 1579
1579 c.         Stringer, Philip     M.A.; Fellow of     JN     vice Redman
1585            Smith, Thomas [2]     M.A.; Matr. T 1576; Fellow of     JN     vice Stokys. Registrary, 1591
1591            Brooke, Thomas     M.A.     CL     vice Stringer, resigned. Librarian, 1623
1592 c.         Ingram, William     M.A.     M     vice Smith, resigned. LL.D., 1604
1596            Ridding, Richard     M.A.     JN     vice Baxter, deceased
1605 c.         Wiseman, John     M.A.     JE     vice Ingram, resigned
1624            Buck, Thomas     M.A.; Fellow of     CTH     vice Wiseman, resigned
1626            Buck, John     M.A.     CTH     vice Ridding, deceased
1629            Hughes, Francis     M.A.     T     vice Brooke, deceased
1669            Peck, John     M.A.; Fellow of     JN     vice Hughes, deceased
1670            Worts, William     M.A.; Fellow of     CAI     vice T. Buck, deceased
1680            Martin, Hugh     M.A.; Fellow of     PEM     vice J. Buck, deceased
1682            Richardson, Purbeck     M.A.; Fellow of     T     vice Peck, deceased
1683-1715       Perne, John     M.A.; Fellow of     PET     vice Richardson, deceased
1704-27         Clarke, Edward     M.A., Fellow of     CL; vice Worts, deceased
1715            Attwood, Richard     M.A.; Fellow of     PEM     vice Pern, deceased
1716            Simpson, Robert     M.A.; Fellow of     CAI     vice Martin, deceased
1727:01:13      Huntman, Thomas     M.A.; Fellow of     T     vice Clarke, deceased
1727:12:14      Burrough, James, Sir     M.A.; Fellow of     CAI     vice Huntman, deceased. Master, 1754
1734            Burrowes, Thomas     M.A.; Fellow of     T     vice Attwood, deceased
1749            Bennett, Thomas     LL.B.     Q     vice Simpson, deceased
1754            Porteus, Beilby     B.A.; Fellow of     CHR     vice Burrough, resigned
1755            Dawes, Francis     B.A.; Fellow of     PET     vice Portues, resigned
1767            Chafy, William [1]     B.A.     JN     vice Burrowes, deceased
1770            Beverley, John     B.A.     CHR     vice Bennett, deceased
1772-75         Hey, Richard     M.A.     M     vice Chafy, resigned
1775            Mathew, William     LL.B.; Fellow of     JE     vice Hey, resigned
1789            Gunning, Henry     B.A.     CHR     vice Dawes, deceased
1797            Isola, Charles     B.A.     EM     vice Mathew, deceased
1814            Ware, George     M.A.     JN     vice Isola, deceased
1826            Leapingwell, George     M.A.     CC     vice Ware, deceased
1827            Hopkins, William     B.A.     PET     vice Beverley, deceased; (the coach)
1854            Godfray, Hugh     B.A.     JN     vice Gunning, deceased
1866            Besant, William Henry     M.A.; Fellow of     JN     vice Hopkins, deceased
1870            Miller, Robert Kalley     M.A.; Fellow of     PET     vice Besant, deceased
1873            Gross, Edward John     M.A.; Fellow of     CAI     vice Miller, resigned
1877            Humphry, Alfred Paget     M.A.; LL.M.     T     vice Gross, resigned
1877            Wace, Frederick Charles     M.A.; Fellow of     JN     vice Godfray, deceased
1893            Gill, Wilfred Austin     M.A.; Fellow of     M     vice Wace, deceased
1900            Evans, Arthur Humble     M.A.     CL     vice Gill, deceased
1913            Smith, Rupert Hamblin     M.A.     PET     vice Humphry, resigned
1920            Carey, Gordon Vero     M.A.; Fellow of     CL     vice Evans, resigned
1922            Sumner, Charles Pinfold     M.A.     CAI     vice Carey, resigned
1936            Garrett, Herbert Leonard     M.A.     JN     vice Smith, deceased. D. 1941
1937            Thompson, Colin Hustwick     M.A.     Q     vice Sumner, retired
1946            Wilson, Norman Scarlyn     M.A.     PEM     vice Garrett, deceased 1941
1960            Sinker, Philip Tennant     M.A.     CL     vice Thompson, resigned
1968            Melville, Paul Clifton     M.A.     SEL     vice Wilson, retired
1976            Poole, Richard Neal Barlow-     M.A.     CHR     vice Melville, resigned
1977            Tee, Peter Arthur Handbury     M.A.     CTH     vice Sinker, retired
1987            Johnson, Malcolm MacDonald     M.A.     JN     vice Barlow-Poole, retired
1996            Emmines, John Peter     PET     vice Tee
1997            Williams, John Horace     HH     vice Johnson
2003            Rogers, Nicola     ??     vice Williams, retired