Main Births etc
Coordinates: 51°06′50″N 0°38′39″E / 51.1139, 0.6441
Biddenden Church - - 221914.jpg
Biddenden church

Biddenden is located in Kent

 Biddenden shown within Kent
Population 2,434 
OS grid reference TQ850383
Parish Biddenden
District Ashford
Shire county Kent
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district TN27
Dialling code 01580
Police Kent
Fire Kent
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Ashford
List of places: UK • England • Kent

Biddenden is a village and civil parish in the Ashford District of Kent, England. The village lies on the Weald of Kent, some five miles (8 km) north of Tenterden. It was centre for Wealden iron industry and also of clothmaking. During the half century reign of Edward III, Flemish clothworkers were 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 numerous vineyards and orchards produce varietal wines, ciders and juices.

Biddenden is also the trading name of Biddenden's Cider. Biddenden's Cider is made by Biddenden Vineyards Ltd.[1] whose premises are close to the village.

Origin of Name[]

The place name of Biddenden is derived from the Kentish dialect of Old English, meaning Bidda's woodland pasture associated with a man called Bida originally Biddingden (c993) Bida + ing + denn, eventually evolved into the current spelling.[2][3]

Biddenden Maids[]

Signpost with the name of Biddenden above a circle enclosing the cut-out and brightly painted figures of two conjoined women

Wrought iron sign erected in Biddenden in the 1920s

In 1100, Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst, a pair of conjoined twins, were supposedly born in the village. The origin of the perpetual charity of Biddenden is celebrated in the village signage of the Biddenden Maids, as they became known. Currently the Biddenden Consolidated Charity provides Biddenden pensioners and widows with bread, cheese, and tea at Easter, a cash payment at Christmas, and distribution of Biddenden cakes.[4]


Biddenden compared
2001 UK Census Biddenden Ashford district England
Population 2,434 102,661 49,138,831
Foreign born 5.8% 5.5% 9.2%
White 98.7% 97.6% 90.9%
Asian 0.3% 0.9% 4.6%
Black 0.5% 0.4% 2.3%
Christian 78.6% 76.5% 71.7%
Muslim 0.1% 0.6% 3.1%
Hindu 0.2% 0.3% 1.1%
No religion 12.7% 14.6% 14.6%
Unemployed 1.7% 2.4% 3.3%
Retired 18.8% 13.8% 13.5%

As of the 2001 UK census, the Biddenden electoral ward had a population of 2,434. The ethnicity was 98.7% white, 0.4% mixed race, 0.3% Asian, 0.5% black and 0.1% other. The place of birth of residents was 94.2% United Kingdom, 0.4% Republic of Ireland, 1.6% other Western European countries, and 3.8% elsewhere. Religion was recorded as 78.6% Christian, 0.3% Buddhist, 0.2% Hindu, 0% Sikh, 0% Jewish, and 0.1% Muslim. 12.7% were recorded as having no religion, 0.3% had an alternative religion and 7.9% did not state their religion.[5]

The economic activity of residents aged 16–74 was 32.8% in full-time employment, 12.5% in part-time employment, 16.9% self-employed, 1.7% unemployed, 1.1% students with jobs, 2.4% students without jobs, 18.8% retired, 9.4% looking after home or family, 2.5% permanently sick or disabled and 2% economically inactive for other reasons. The industry of employment of residents was 13.9% retail, 9.5% manufacturing, 10.3% construction, 14.3% real estate, 10.3% health and social work, 7.2% education, 4.7% transport and communications, 5.2% public administration, 4.9% hotels and restaurants, 5.7% finance, 5.8% agriculture and 8.2% other. Compared with national figures, the ward had a relatively high proportion of workers in agriculture and construction. There were a relatively low proportion in manufacturing, transport and communications. Of the ward's residents aged 16–74, 19.6% had a higher education qualification or the equivalent, compared with 19.9% nationwide.[5]


Biddenden was served by Biddenden railway station, on the Kent and East Sussex Railway. The station opened on 15 May 1905 and closed on 4 January 1954.[6]

Bygone Buses was based in Biddenden during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was sold to Maidstone & District Motor Services.

Notable people[]

Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst, the Biddenden Maids

  • Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst (1100–34), conjoined twins traditionally said to have lived in Biddenden.
  • Thomas Bickley (1518–96), was rector of Biddenden prior to 1585.
  • Elias Sydall (1672–1733), was rector of Biddenden 1702-05.
  • Edward Nares (1762–1841), theologian, was rector of Biddenden 1798-1827.
  • Robert Kahn (1865–1951), composer, lived in Biddenden from 1938–51.
  • John R. Winder (1821–1910), Second in command of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1887-1910, was born in Biddenden.
  • King Rama VII of Siam (1893–1941) lived in Biddenden after his abdication in 1935.

Notes and References[]



  1. ^
  2. ^ The Place Names of Kent, Judith Glover ISBN 0-905270-61-4
  3. ^ The Origin of English Place Names, P.H.Reaney ISBN 0-7100-2010-4
  4. ^ Bondeson 2006, p. 241.
  5. ^ a b "Neighbourhood Statistics". Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  6. ^ Garrett, S R (March 1980). The Kent & East Sussex Railway (Revised ed.). Tarrant Hinton: The Oakwood Press. pp. p9, 23. 


  • Bondeson, Jan (2006), Freaks: The Pig-Faced Lady of Manchester Square & Other Medical Marvels, Stroud: Tempus Publishing, ISBN 0-7524-3662-7 

External links[]

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Biddenden. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.