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Beadsman [NEW]

A beadsman (or beadswoman) in Medieval times occupied their position as attached to the crown and churches in Scotland and England. In general, the task was to pray for souls listed on a bede-roll represented by small items on a string called 'bedes' (i.e. "prayers"). Souls who wished to be prayed for, secured their listing by giving alms, donations, or gifts.[2] if a departed soul was a member of a guild the chaplain would add them to the roll for prayer post-mortem. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the use of little perforated globes of bone, wood, or amber, threaded on a string, came into fashion for the purpose of counting the repetitions of the Our Father or Hail Mary. These objects themselves became known as 'bedes', later becoming known as 'beads'.[2]


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In a somewhat similar practice in Spain (roughly 14th century onwards), there were blind people hired to sing prayers for customers. Some customers were regulars, others hired these singers only from time to time.[5] Bedesmen existed in Scotland until the late 1990s.[6] The last beadsman in Aberdeen died in 1988.[7]

c1230 Ancr. R. 356 Beon ores beodemon. c1425 WYNTOUN Cron. IX. xxvii. 99 His Bede-men ai suld be..And pray for hym. 1538 LATIMER Serm. & Rem. (1845) 412 The prior of Worcester, is your orator and beadsman. c1540 Thrie Priests of Peblis, Welcum my beidmen, my blesse, and al my beild. 1591 SHAKES. Two Gent. I. i. 18 Commend thy grieuance to my holy prayers, For I will be thy beadesman, Valentine. 1647 WARD Simp. Cobler (1843) 62 As fervent a Beadsman for your welfare. 1869 FREEMAN Norm. Conq. (1876) III. ii. 28 His friend and bedesman, Abbot Eadwine.

Commission your own museum quality hand painted reproduction of "That beadsman, old" on a high quality cotton-linen canvas, originally by artist James Smetham. This artwork will be painted by an experienced artist.

Bedesman ( beadsman) at the feet of William Charlton of Apley Castle, who died in 1544. A bedesman would have originally been employed to pray for the soul of the deceased. Originally in the old parish church of Wellington, it is now in Shrewsbury Abbey. Compare the bedesman at Abergavenny. 041b061a72

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