Black and white cat crossing road in front of medieval weavers' houses, Maydes Restaurant, Biddenden, Kent, England, UK

- Image ID: DD03NY
Carolyn Clarke / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: DD03NY
Biddenden was the centre (center) for the Wealden iron industry and also of clothmaking. During the reign of Edward III some Flemish weavers settled in the area. The ready availability of raw materials led to the establishment of an industry for the production of broadcloth. An important cottage industry is established to the west, where wine and cider is produced. In 1100, Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst, a pair of conjoined twins, were supposedly born in the village. The Biddenden Maids, as they became known, are celebrated in the village sign. According to tradition the Biddenden Maids were twin sisters, born in 1100, joined at the shoulders and hips. The legend describes how Eliza and Mary Chulkhurst lived joined together for 34 years until Mary died suddenly. Eliza died a few hours later, refusing to let doctors try to separate her from from her sisters body. Local records show that for over 400 years income from 20 acres of land, believed to have been bequeathed by two sisters, has been used for the benefit of the poor of the parish. Once a year Bread and Cheese and are given to local widows and pensioners at the Old Workhouse, Biddenden Biscuits, baked from flour and water, are distributed among the spectators as souvenirs, They bear an effigy of two female figures whose bodies are joined together at the hips and shoulders as does the village sign. On December 21, 1821, LDS Church leader and Utah pioneer John R. Winder was born in Biddenden.