Biddenden in Kent

Google map showing area surrounding Biddenden
(The Maids of Biddenden)
Location: 51.115068,0.643338
General Details
Biddenden Kent - The magnificent old high streetBiddenden in Kent is on the old A274 Tenterden to Maidstone road, and is a small very attractive village with a few local shops, and a small village green.

Local legend has it that in 1100 twins were born into the Chulkhurst family , who were joined at the hips and shoulders. Elisa and Mary lived together for 34 years when one of them died. As it was impossible to separate the twins, the other died soon after. It is believed they were carried to Battle Abbey where they were buried.

As part of their will, they bequeathed about 20 acres of land to be used to help the poor. This charitable event has been recorded by the church since 1538 and it is probable that it started from the maids.

In 1331 the export of unwashed wool was prohibited by King Edward III. He encouraged weavers from Flanders to settle here, thus bringing their weaving and dying techniques to England. Biddenden and some of its neighbouring villages soon became an important centre of the Broadcloth manufacturing industry. The majority of the high street was built during this period, and the stone paved footpath was built from Biddenden to Tenterden to take the traffic.

Once the weaving industry had moved on, the village reverted to its old agricultural heritage, but as time went on the villagers became poorer, and many emigrated. In the early 1830's the population attacked farms and the new machinery which they felt were taking their jobs these were known as the Swing riots. The area was involved with the smuggling industry due to the villages proximity to the Dungeness marshes .

In 1905 the railway came to Biddenden, as it was on the branch line from Headcorn to Biddenden , Tenterden , Northiam , Bodiam and finally Robertsbridge . This line was closed in 1954, but nowadays the Kent & East Sussex Railway have opened up the stretch from Tenterden to Bodiam , and populated it with steam trains .
Biddenden Kent - The villageBiddenden in Kent is a very pretty village, with a wealth of black and white and old tile hung cottages. The road from the village centre towards the church is beautiful this leads to Sissinghurst and the gardens of Sissinghurst Castle .

The whole village centre although small, can keep you occupied for a long time, just admiring the houses.
Biddenden Kent - All Saints churchBiddenden in Kent is a small very attractive village with a few local shops.

The main shopping centre is at Tenterden about 6 miles to the south, or Maidstone with its main supermarkets about 8 miles north.

The nearest rail service is at Headcorn about 3 miles north, which has a station on the Ashford to London line giving a very frequent service to the city.
Biddenden is shown as the red symbol on the map.

Nearby Villages

(click on symbol to see the village page)
Village= Town= Recorded in Domesday=
Benenden (One of Englands Top Girls Schools)
4.31 miles
Cranbrook (Christmas Cards and Union Mill)4.81 miles
Frittenden (The Search for the Treacle Mines)2.84 miles
Headcorn (King Johns Oak)3.91 miles
Sissinghurst (The magnificent garden of Vita Sackville-West)3.66 miles
Staplehurst (Charles Dickens train crash)5.15 miles
Tenterden (Centre of the Broadcloth industry)3.75 miles
Woodchurch (Dragoons capture Smugglers)6.51 miles
Copyright Villagenet 1998-2024
Local Interest
Just click an image
Hastings Rock the place to listen to
Battle Museum of Local History
(Hard to find but worth the Visit)
The Bald Explorer for local documentaries
Roman, Saxon and Norman History of the South East
Ninfield History Group
Wealden Iron Research Group
The Rudes as lots of people call us, are an outdoor touring theatre company specialising in taking new & original theatre to mainly small rural communities and a few towns across the South of England. We were founded in 1998 & first toured in the Summer of 1999. Currently we tour only in the summer performing 50+ times nightly during June, July & August.
Battle and District Historical Society
For all things mosaic, commissions workshops etc please contact Hannah
Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group
Wadhurst History Society