Sexton, a corruption of sacristan (q.v.). This officer was anciently the attendant and waiter on the clergy. His duties at the present day in the Church of England is to keep the church, dig graves, provide the necessaries for service — as for baptism and the Lord's supper — under the direction of the church wardens. The office may be held by a woman, and the salary usually depends on the annual vote of the parishioners. In Scotland the sexton, whose duties are much the same as in England, is usually called the beadle, from the Saxon bydde, to cry, or to make proclamation. The appointment to office in the Established Church is with the heritors.

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