BEADLE: Reaney and Wilson’s dictionary has this name along with fifteen similar names (e.g., Biddles, Buddles), and explains them as either from the office of Beadle, or, occasionally, from places called Bedwell. Examples they give, such as Ailsi le bedell in Leicestershire in 1175 look like titles, and we may accept that explanation.
I would argue, however, that northern Beadles may have a different surname origin in most instances. If we look at the modern distribution of the surname, we see that it is found mainly in the south-east, particularly in Kent, and the north-east, particularly Durham and the Old North Riding of Yorkshire. There is in North Yorkshire a place name, Bedale, and a name from this location occurs regularly in the records.
The Poll Tax records for the West Riding do give an instance of a name that is more likely from the office name:
John Bedell and his wife at Harthill, South Yorkshire
but otherwise the locative version is found.

John Bedale and his wife were at Beverley, East Riding, and
John Bedale and his wife at Cottingham, East Riding, 1381 (Poll Tax)
There were also Bedales in York the same year:
John de Bedale, ‘Littester’ (dyer) in ‘Northstrete’, and
Isabella de Bedale, widow, in Fossgate, York (Poll Tax)
Simon Bedale was Mayor of Hull in 1415
Richard Bedale, a governor of Beverley, 1466-7
John Bedeale in Hull, 1528
Paul Bedall (new spelling) in Hull, 1552
Thomas Beadall in Hull, 1695
This may be Thomas Bedall (thus spelled eight times), or Beadell (once), or Beadle (once), mentioned in a list of payments recorded by the Deputy Governor of Hull in 1680 (T.T. Wildridge, “Old and New Hull, 2vols., 1844, 1849).

Poulson’s History of Holderness, (vol.2, pp. 145-151) has a list of mayors and bailiffs of Hedon, which includes the following persons (and spellings) –
Philip Beedall, bailiff 1714
Philip Beedale, bailiff 1716
Philip Beadle, bailiff 1723 (three Philips, all one?)
William Beadle, mayor 1752
John Bedell, bailiff 1764,1768
William Beadall, mayor 1770

Peter Bedell, clock and watchmaker, is on record in Hull 1813-1851 (name spelt Beedle in 1818)
John Beadle of Kirkella is mentioned in Poulson’s “Holderness”, vol.2, (1841) as “the present possessor” of Dowthwaite Hall. He was John Beadle, chairman of the Hull Dock Board, 1841-1847.

It is impossible to separate the Beadles of Bedale origin from the Beadles of law officer origin, but any Beadle families traceable in Northern England before the Industrial Revolution would, in my opinion, be more likely to have a Bedale origin. a loose translation of the place name is “Beda’s land”, Beda a being an Old English male personal name.


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