Biddenden Maids - Legend

Legend

According to tradition Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst, or Chalkhurst, were born to relatively wealthy parents in Biddenden, Kent, in the year 1100. The pair were said to be conjoined at both the shoulder and the hip. They grew up conjoined, and are said to have "had frequent quarrels, which sometimes terminated in blows". At the age of 34, Mary Chulkhurst died suddenly. Doctors proposed to separate the still-living Eliza from her sister's body but she refused, saying "as we came together we will also go together", and died six hours afterwards. In their wills, the sisters left five pieces of land in the Biddenden area comprising around 20 acres (8 ha) in total to the local church, with the income from these lands (claimed to have been 6 guineas per annum at the time of their death) to provide an annual dole of bread, cheese and beer to the poor every Easter. Henceforward, the lands were to be known as the Bread and Cheese Lands.

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