The primary source of this interesting surname is the Olde English pre 7th Century "bydel", beadle. Reinforced by the Old French "bedel", the word is ultimately of Germanic origin, and related to the Olde English "beodan", to bid, command, and the Old High German "bodo", messenger. In the Middle Ages a beadle was a junior official of a court of justice, whose duties included acting as an usher in a court, delivering official notices, carrying the mace in processions, and making proclamations (as a sort of town crier). The surname was therefore occupational for a court official. By the late 16th Century however, a beadle's main duty was to keep order, and his position was a parish appointment. The surname has the distinction of being first recorded in the Domesday Book (see below), and further early examples include: Erneis Bedel (Hampshire, 1148); Walter Bidellus (Lincolnshire, 1273); and Brun Bydel (Somerset, 1353). Some instances of the surname Biddle may be of medieval Welsh origin, and a dialectal variant of Bithell, Bythell, a patronymic of the Old Welsh male given name "Ithel", composed of the elements "ith", lord, and "hael", generous (with the fused prefix "ab, ap", son of). John Biddle (1615 - 1662) was master of a free school of St. Mary-le-Crypt, Gloucestershire, and Rowland Biddell was recorded in Pembroke in 1616. A Coat of Arms granted to the Biddle family is a silver shield with three black double brackets, the Crest being a red demi heraldic tiger, rampant ducally gorged gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Brictmarus Bedel, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Suffolk, during the reign of King William 1, known as "William the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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