Biddenden Hastings
Kent TN27
 
 
 
 
The Weald of Kent in south-east England is full of delightful old villages but it would be hard to ignore this village, one of the prettiest.
 
The High Street is lined with Flemish weavers’ cottages and grand houses from the 15th century.  The oldest remaining house is Vane Court, built in 1420. The village is approximately 6 miles (10 kms) north of Tenterden on the A274 which joins the A262 route to Sissinghurst Castle Garden .
 
Biddenden grew rich in the 14th century on the dual industries of iron-ore mining and broadcloth manufacture.  In this cottage industry, lengths of cloth were woven and assembled in the half-timbered Old Cloth Hall.  Around the village, are ancient causeways paved with irregular slabs of local Bethersden marble. These causeways were laid as paths for heavily laden pack animals carrying wool from outlying farms.
 
All Saints Church Brasses
All Saints Church built in the 1200s has a wealth of interesting Memorial Brasses from the 16th and 17th centuries. This lovely old stone church in the centre of the village is open every day during the summer from 10:00 – 16:00 hours, subject to volunteer availability.
 
Biddenden Maids
This ancient village is also famous as being the home of the Chulkhurst Charity: The Biddenden Maids. The distinctive welcoming sign featuring the twins which used to stand at the entrance to the village has now been moved to pride of place on the small village green.
 
According to legend, Siamese twins Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst, congenitally joined at the hips and shoulders, were born in 1100.  They lived for 34 years and then one of the sisters contracted a terminal illness and died.  Her sister refused to be separated from the corpse and she died six hours later.
 
Local records show that for 400 years the church has gained an income from 20 acres of land, west of the church. The land is believed to have been bequeathed by two sisters, and has been used for the benefit of the poor of the village.  Legend has it that the two sisters and the two Maids are the same people and the bequest is now known as the Chulkhurst Charity.
 
Each Easter Monday Biddenden re-enacts the giving to the ‘poor and needy’ of the parish with the Chulkhurst Charity Day.
 
Three Chimneys Pub
Various refreshments can be obtained from the many excellent restaurants, teashops and pubs in the village.  The Red Lion opposite the village green was said to have been established by a soldier returning from the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.  The Three Chimneys pub is a Free House and has recently won the ‘Best Dining Pub in Kent’ award.
 
Biddenden Vineyards
As well as enjoying the village, make a visit to Biddenden Vineyards.  The Vineyard welcomes visitors all year round, has a coffee shop and offers free guided tours and wine tastings.  Not generally on the tourist route, this is a bit of a gem attraction.
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here:    External Link
 
Contact & Further Information
To find out more about Biddenden, local accommodation, food & drink go to: 
Website  Biddenden Website    External Link
 
Getting There
- By mainline rail
The nearest rail service is at Headcorn, about 3 miles (4.8 km) to the north of Biddenden. Headcorn station is on the Southeastern rail service from London Charing Cross terminal  Web: Southeastern Railway website    External Link
 
Services are usually half hourly with a journey time of around one hour. For timetables, costs etc go to  Web: National Rail Enquiries    External Link
 
- By Car
From London
Leave the M20 at Junction 8 at Leeds Castle. Follow the B2163 until it meets the A274 to Sutton Valence and Headcorn.  Follow the A274 through Biddenden. Half a mile beyond Biddenden village turn right following signs to Biddenden Vineyards and Benenden.
 
From Dover
Leave the M20 at Junction 9. Follow the A28 towards Tenterden. After High Halden, turn right taking the A262 towards Maidstone and pick up Biddenden Vineyards signs.
 
Google Maps - Biddenden Village