A poor or vagabond parson. The use of hedge for vagabond, or
very inferior, is common: as hedge-mustard, hedge-writer (a Grubb
Street author), hedge-marriage (a clandestine one), etc. Shakespeare
uses the phrase, “hedge-born swain” as the very opposite of “gentle
blood.” (1 Henry VI., iv. 1.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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