All Saints Biddenden Church
Biddenden shown within Kent
|Area||29.12 km2 (11.24 sq mi)|
|Population||2,574 (Civil Parish)|
|– density||88/km2 (230/sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Biddenden is a large, mostly agricultural and wooded 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 a centre for the Wealden iron industry and also of clothmaking.
All Saints Biddenden is the parish church, built mostly in the 1200s. There was likely an earlier Saxon church here. 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 a flourishing textile industry for the production of broadcloth. Wealth from this industry built many of the fine houses in town.
An important cottage industry has developed 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. whose premises are close to the clustered village centre.
Origin of Name
The place name of Biddenden is derived from the Kentish dialect of Old English, meaning "Bidda's woodland pasture." It is associated with a man called Bida, was originally Biddingden (c993) Bida + ing + denn, eventually evolving into the current spelling.
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. 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.
|2001 UK Census||Biddenden||Ashford district||England|
At 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.
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.
- 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 1901-1910, was born in Biddenden.
- William Guy (1859-1950) pioneer of modern dentistry, was born in Biddenden
- King Rama VII of Siam (1893–1941) lived in Biddenden after his abdication in 1935.
Notes and References
- Bondeson, Jan (2006), Freaks: The Pig-Faced Lady of Manchester Square & Other Medical Marvels, Stroud: Tempus Publishing, ISBN 0-7524-3662-7
- Key Statistics; Quick Statistics: Population Density United Kingdom Census 2011 Office for National Statistics Retrieved 10 May 2014
- Biddenden's Cider, Biddenden Vineyards
- The Place Names of Kent, Judith Glover ISBN 0-905270-61-4
- The Origin of English Place Names, P.H. Reaney ISBN 0-7100-2010-4
- Bondeson 2006, p. 241.
- "Neighbourhood Statistics". Statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- Garrett, S R (March 1980). The Kent & East Sussex Railway (Revised ed.). Tarrant Hinton: The Oakwood Press. pp. 9, 23.
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