Latin, bedellus.

The beadle was an under-bailiff, a lesser official with minor police functions. Beadles are only occasionally recorded in Domesday Book, mostly in circuits 3 and 5. This is certainly accidental, though, as half the recorded population of beadles occur on just one manor (HEF 1,10a). Most of those who are recorded are royal beadles; and in Bedfordshire they are listed in a collective fief - a sergeantry - along with other minor royal officials (BDF 57).

For the most part, however, beadles were too insignificant to feature among the landowners; where they did, they rarely had more than a few acres. Occasionally, they are in included among the manorial peasantry, in one case alongside female slaves, the lowest level in the peasant hierarchy.

For such minor officials, see James Campbell, 'Some agents and agencies of the late Anglo-Saxon state', in Domesday studies, edited by J.C. Holt (Woodbridge, 1987), pages 201-18.

See also reeve.