Biddenden Maids biscuit sells for £100


An 18th century biscuit made to commemorate the philanthropy of a pair of conjoined twins has been sold for £100 at auction.

Biddenden Cakes were a rectangle hard biscuit moulded with an image of Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst – known as the Biddenden Maids.

The twins were born in the village of Biddenden in Kent in 1100 and lived until the age of 34.

Tradition has it that when one of the twins died the other refused to be separated from her dead twin saying, As we came together we will go together, and died six hours later.

The sisters are reputed to have bequeathed land to the village, known as the “Bread and Cheese Lands”.

The rent from which was used to pay an annual dole of food and drink to the poor at Easter.

Since at least 1775 the dole included Biddenden Cakes bearing the effigy of the conjoined maids.

A Biddenden Cake featuring images of Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst
A Biddenden Cake featuring images of Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst

The biscuit went under the hammer at Dominic Winter Auctioneers in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, and was bought by a private collector based in Kent.

Other Biddenden Cakes can be found in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the Wellcome Collection in London.

Auctioneer Chris Albury said: “We’ve sold quite a few pieces of wedding cake from the Charles and Diana wedding of 1981 for as much as £1,000 and we are no strangers to selling quirky collectables.”

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