The Beadle was a minor parish official.

He was an officer of the law, and dealt with minor offences in the area – he was a fairly important chap but  not necessarily well educated.

The Beadle was instantly recognisable in his state-coat and large hat;  he carried a big staff in one hand and a small whippy cane in the other, and it seems that a prerequisite for job was a dislike of children…….Charles Dickens did his research well!    He was appointed by the vestry, but actually had little authority although he had many chores such as acting as town crier and keeping order at church services, as well as dealing with recalcitrant children and parishioners.