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BEDE, C.—BEDFORD

he lived to a great age; some medieval authorities making him ninety when he died. But he was not born before 672 (see above); and though the date of his death has been disputed, the traditional year, 735, is most probably correct. This would make him at most sixty-three. Of his death a most touching and beautiful account has been preserved in a contemporary letter. His last hours were spent, like the rest of his life, in devotion and teaching, his latest work being to dictate, amid ever-increasing bodily weakness, a translation into the vernacular of the Gospel of St John, a work which unhappily has not survived. It was a fitting close to such a life as his.

Bibliography.—The above sketch is largely based on the present writer’s essay on Bede’s Life and Works, prefixed to his edition of Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica, &c. (2 vols., Clarendon Press, 1896). Beda der Ehrwürdige und seine Zeit, by Dr Karl Werner (Vienna, 1875), is excellent. Gehle, Disputatio ... de Bedae vita et Scriptis (Leiden, 1838), is still useful. Dr William Bright’s Chapters of Early English Church History (3rd ed., Clarendon Press, 1897) is indispensable. See also Ker, Dark Ages, pp. 141 ff. Of the collected works of Bede the most convenient edition is that by Dr Giles in twelve volumes (8vo., 1843-1844), which includes translations of the Historical Works. The Continental folio editions (Basel, 1563; Cologne, 1612 and 1688) contain many works which cannot by any possibility be Bede’s. The edition of Migne, Patralogia Latina (1862 ff.) is based on a comparison of the Cologne edition with Giles and Smith (see below), and is open to the same criticism. On the chronology and genuineness of the works commonly ascribed to Bede, see Plummer’s ed., i., cxlv-clix.

On the MSS. early editions and translations of the Historia Ecclesiastica, see Plummer, u.s., i., lxxx-cxxxii. The edition of Whelock (Cambridge, fol. 1643-1644) is noteworthy as the first English edition of the Latin text, and as the editio princeps of the Anglo-Saxon version ascribed to King Alfred (see Alfred the Great). Smith’s edition (Cambridge, fol. 1722) contained not only these, but also the other historical works of Bede, with notes and appendices. It is a monument of learning and scholarship. The most recent edition is that with notes and introduction by the present writer, u.s. It includes also the History of the Abbots, and the Epistle to Egbert. Of books iii. and iv. only, there is a learned edition by Professors Mayor and Lumby of Cambridge (3rd ed., 1881). A cheap and handy edition of the text alone is that by A. Holder (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1882, &c.). The best-known modern English translation is that by the Rev. L. Gidley (1870). Of the minor historical works a good edition was edited by Rev. J. Stevenson for the Eng. Hist. Soc. in 1841; and a translation by the same hand was included in Church Historians of England, vol. i., part ii. (1853). See also Plummer’s edition, pp. cxxxii-cxlii.

 (C. Pl.) 


BEDE, CUTHBERT, the pen-name of Edward Bradley (1827-1889), English author, who was born at Kidderminster on the 25th of March 1827. He entered University College, Durham, in 1845, and later studied at Oxford, where he made the acquaintance of J. G. Wood, the naturalist. He took holy orders, and eventually became rector of Stretton in Rutlandshire. Here he gained a reputation as a humorist and numbered among his friends Cruikshank, Frank Smedley, Mark Lemon and Albert Smith. He wrote for various magazines and, in the pages of the Illustrated London News, introduced the double acrostic. He is chiefly known as the author of The Adventures of Mr Verdant Green, an Oxford Freshman (1853), which he also illustrated and of which a third part appeared in 1856. Several well-known Oxford characters of the time are depicted in its pages, such as Dr Plumptre the vice-chancellor, Dr Bliss the registrar, and the waiter at the Mitre. The book abounds in innocent fun. In 1883 he was given the living of Lenton, or Lavington, Lincolnshire, where he died on the 12th of December 1889.


BEDELL, WILLIAM (1571-1642), Anglican divine, was born at Black Notley in Essex, in 1571. He was educated at Cambridge, became fellow of Emmanuel in 1593, and took orders. In 1607 he was appointed chaplain to Sir H. Wotton, then English ambassador at Venice, where he remained for four years, acquiring a great reputation as a scholar and theologian. He translated the Book of Common Prayer into Italian, and was on terms of closest friendship with the reformer, Sarpi (Fra Paolo). In 1616 he was appointed to the rectory of Horningsheath (near to Bury St Edmunds, where he had previously laboured), which he held for twelve years. In 1627 he became provost of Trinity College, Dublin, and, in 1629, bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh. He set himself to reform the abuses of his diocese, encouraged the use of the Irish language, and personally undertook the duties generally discharged by the bishop’s lay chancellor. In 1633 he resigned his see. In 1641, when the Protestants were being massacred, Bedell’s house was not only left untouched, but became the place of refuge for many fugitives. In the end, however, the rebels insisted upon the dismissal of all who had taken shelter in his house, and on the bishop’s refusal he was seized and imprisoned with some others in the ruined castle of Loughboughter. Here he was detained for several weeks, and when released, rapidly sank from the effects of exposure, and died on the 7th of February 1642.

His life was written by Bishop Gilbert Burnet in 1685, and also by his elder son (ed. T. W. Jones, for the Camden Society, 1872).


BEDESMAN, or Beadsman (Med. Eng. bede, prayer, from O. Eng. biddan, to pray; literally “a man of prayer”), generally a pensioner or almsman whose duty it was to pray for his benefactor. In Scotland there were public almsmen supported by the king and expected in return to pray for his welfare and that of the state. These men wore long blue gowns with a pewter badge on the right arm, and were nicknamed Blue Gowns. Their number corresponded to the king’s years, an extra one being added each royal birthday. They were privileged to ask alms throughout Scotland. On the king’s birthday each bedesman received a new blue gown, a loaf, a bottle of ale, and a leathern purse containing a penny for every year of the king’s life. On the pewter badge which they wore were their name and the words “pass and repass,” which authorized them to ask alms. In 1833 the appointment of bedesmen was stopped. In 1863 the last payment was paid to a bedesman. In consequence of its use in this general sense of pensioner, “bedesman” was long used in English as equivalent to “servant.” The word had a special sense as the name for those almsmen attached to cathedral and other churches, whose duty it was to pray for the souls of deceased benefactors. A relic of pre-Reformation times, these old men still figure in the accounts of English cathedrals.


BEDFORD, EARLS AND DUKES OF. The present English title of duke of Bedford comes from a line of earls and dukes in the Russell family. In January 1550 John, Baron Russell, was created earl of Bedford, and in May 1694 his descendant, William, the 5th earl, became duke of Bedford. The Russell line is dealt with in the later part of this article. The title of duke of Bedford had, however, been previously held, notably by the third son of Henry IV.; and the earlier creations may first be considered here.

John Plantagenet, duke of Bedford (1389-1435), third son of Henry IV., king of England, was born on the 20th of June 1389. He received various dignities after his father became king in 1399, and gained his early experiences in warfare when he undertook the office of warden of the east marches of Scotland in 1404; he was fairly successful in this command, which he held until September 1414. In the previous May his brother, the new king Henry V., had created him duke of Bedford, and after resigning the wardenship he began to take a leading part in the royal councils. He acted as lieutenant of the kingdom during Henry’s expedition to France in 1415, and in August 1416 commanded the ships which defeated the French fleet at the mouth of the Seine, and was instrumental in relieving Harfleur. Again appointed lieutenant in July 1417, he marched against the Scots, who abandoned the siege of Berwick at his approach; and on his return to London he brought Sir John Oldcastle to trial and was present at his execution. He appears to have governed the country with considerable success until December 1419, when he resigned his office as lieutenant and joined the king in France. Returning to England, he undertook the lieutenancy for the third time in June 1421, and in the following May conducted the queen to join Henry in Normandy. He then took his brother’s place and led the English troops to the relief of Cosne, but on hearing of the king’s serious illness he left the army and hurried to his side. Henry’s last wish was that Bedford should be guardian of the kingdom and of the young king, and that Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, should act as regent in France. But when Philip declined to undertake this office, it too was assumed by Bedford, who, after the death of the French king Charles VI. in October 1422, presided at a session of the