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see Bethlem Royal HospitalBethlem Royal Hospital
, the oldest institution for the care and confinement of the mentally ill in England, and one of the oldest in Europe. A priory in 1247, the building was converted to its later usage c.1400.
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from Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem, former English insane asylum. [Br. Folklore: Jobes, 193]


(Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem) first asylum for the insane in England; noted for brutal treatment of its patients. [Br. Hist.: EB, I: 924]
See: Madness
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Archaic a lunatic asylum; madhouse
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in classic literature ?
As Martin ran to stop the bedlam, he saw the world as an enormous, empty stomach, at the opening of which he stood, hurling in the feed as fast as his muscles would permit.
The paper climaxes in a conjectural story unfolding the history of English 'bedlam', (3) thereby illustrating a practical application of the model.
A diachronic story of 'bedlam' from a holistic, socio-cognitive perspective
As an illustration, let us now present a holistic, socio-cognitive explanation of the semantic changes undergone by the lexeme 'bedlam' (cf.
"Inmates of Bedlam who were not dangerous were kept in the 'Abraham Ward' and occasionally allowed out in distinctive dress and permitted to beg.