Broadsheet describing the Biddenden Maids, Kent, England, 1801-1900
Elisa and Mary Chulkhurst (1100-1134) were conjoined twins named after their home town of Biddenden, in Kent, England. They lived for 34 years joined at the hips and shoulders, until 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 twins are said to have left land to the Church, the rental income from which was to be used to purchase food for the poor to be distributed on Easter Sunday. Cakes bearing the image of the twins were also to be distributed. Today, cakes are distributed to the elderly on Easter Monday.
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Glossary: conjoined twins
Identical twins physically joined together at birth, formerly known as ‘Siamese’ twins. The location of the join can vary. Where possible, conjoined twins are often now separated through surgery.
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