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The Abraham-men were a class of beggars claiming to be lunatics allowed out of restraint, in the Tudor and Stuart periods in England.
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ABRAHAM-MEN'. A class of sturdy beggars in England who feigned lunacy and wandered about the country in a disorderly manner. They were common in Shakespeare's time and, it would seem, existed even as late as the period of the Civil ...
Encyclopaedia britannica (1910)
a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information by Hugh Chisholm
ABRAHAM-MEN, the nickname for vagrants who infested England in Tudor times . The phrase is certainly as old as 1561. and was due to these beggars pretending that they were patients discharged from the Abraham ward at Bedlam.
The Manual of Dates: a Dictionary of Reference to All the Most Important Events in the History of Mankind to be Found in Authentic Records (1862)
by George Henry TOWNSEND, Frederick W. MARTIN
ABRAHAM-MEN, be gars, who roamed about the country, on t e dissolution of the religious houses in the 16th century.
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