Biddenden (All Saints)
BIDDENDEN (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Tenterden, hundred of Barclay, Lower division of the lathe of Scray, W. division of Kent, 5 miles (E. by N.) from Cranbrook; containing 1486 inhabitants. It comprises 7207a. 2r. 20p., of which 1100 acres are in wood, and is situated on the Maidstone and Tenterden road, and near the South-Eastern railway; the soil is clayey, and the surface in some parts rather hilly. The place was once famous for its clothing-trade, which has entirely decayed. Fairs, chiefly for horses and Welsh cattle, are held on Old Lady-day and November 8th. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £35, and in the patronage of the Archbishop of Canterbury: the tithes have been commuted for £687, and the glebe consists of about 18 acres of land of good quality, with a commodious residence. The church is a fine structure in the later English style, with an embattled tower, and is capable of accommodating 1000 persons. There is a meeting-house for dissenters. John Mayne, in 1566, bequeathed a sum for the erection of a schoolhouse, and endowed it with a rent-charge of £20. 3. 4. A distribution of bread and cheese to the poor takes place on Easter-Sunday, the expense of which is defrayed from the rental of about 20 acres of land, the reputed bequests of the Biddenden Maids, two sisters of the name of Chulkhurst, who, according to tradition, were born joined together by the hips and shoulders, in the year 1100, and, having lived in that state to the age of thirty-four, died within six hours of each other.