The office can be traced back as far as 1245, and originated in Paris. In French universities, the position was frequently open to purchase. In the medieval English universities in Oxford and Cambridge, the bedel was an administrative assistant of the chancellor and the proctors. The bedel was, among other things, to collect fines and fees, keep rolls of scholars with the license to teach, and participate in ceremonial dress in academic processions and on other similar occasions. There were six bedels at Oxford, one superior and one inferior bedel for each faculty, while Cambridge had only two (Cobban, p. 231f); Oxford today has four bedels representing Divinity, Law, Medicine, and Arts. The University of St Andrews has six bedels at official ceremonies and still maintains at least a single Bedel at the weekly United College chapel service. The office of Esquire Bedell is still preserved for purely ceremonial purposes at some other universities, including the University of Southampton in the UK.