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gicca, the church. The scene was striking and And now, our gentry on the brilliant. The Greek chapel was splen- Throng'd forth, to see, and to be seen, didly illuminated. Five rows of lamps And all the courtesy of fashion. were suspended in the dome; and almost every individual of the immense multia
poor old woman, passing by, tude held a lighted candle in his hand."
Gaz'd at the ring with curious eye The ceremonies on Easter Sunday were
Sometimes frowning, sometimes smiling, very grand.
In thought approving-or reviling.
Her fancy could at times engage;
Her age might reckon eighty-five,
She fix'd her barnacles to nose
The better to observe the shows.
Discover'd soon-some wags stept forth,
And ask'd her, what such sights were worth, There is little trace in England of the What did she think of genteel modes, imposing effect of this festival in papal Where half believ'd themselves half-Gods ? terms.
And t'other half, so wondrous wise,
Believe that bliss—in trifling lies ? It is affirmed, that at Queen's-college, They begg'd that she would frank declare Oxford, the first dish brought to the table What she thought such people were ? on Easter-day, is a red herring, riding away on horseback, that is to say, a The grey-hair'd matron rubb'd her eyes, herring placed by the cook, something Then turn’d her glasses to the skies ; after she likeness of a man on horseback, As if to catch some thought in cue, set on a corn sallad.* This is the only Next, humbly beg'd for some Paste Eggs,
To give them truth and laughter too. vestige of the pageants which formerly With leave to sit,- to rest her legs. were publicly exhibited by way of popu. Then down she squats, and round they throng, lar rejoicing for the departure of the forty Impatient for some jokelike song ; days Lent fast, and the return to solid eating with the Easter festival.
Of eggs they brought her number nine,
All nicely mark’d, and colour'd fine, The custom of eating a gammon of One, was blacker than the sloe, bacon at Easter, still maintained in some Another, white as driven snow. parts of England, is founded on the ab- Red, crimson, purple, azure, blue, horrence our forefathers thought proper Green, pink, and yellow, rose to view. to express, in that way, towards the Jews She closely peeld them, one by one, at the season of commemorating the Broke this, and that, till all were done. resurrection.t
Then shrugg'd her shoulders,—wav'd her head,
But not one syllable she said. Listing at Easter, and pace or paste catholic customs, are described and traced And gently urg'd her, more and more, eggs, with other usages derived from Amaz’d, at silence so profound;
The quality press closer round; in vol. i. p. 421.
To answer what they ask'd before ? Since these “ Caps well fit; by Titus And how did one so ripe in years, in Sandgate and Titus every where," a Estimate a life like theirs ? curious little duodecimo, printed at New- What semblance, worthy observation, castle in 1785, has come into the editor's Suited the heirs of dissipation ? hands, from whence is extracted the Whilst she, kept pressing up and down following
As seeking how their wish to crown.
What had she apropos to say
Of persons so superbly gay?
In throth-quo' she, I'm short and plain.
And faith I have ye,
As clear in view, as whites or yokes,
So like those eggs—I can but smile,
Your transient colours, fleet as theirs,
THE BIDDENDEN MAIDS. Your Aimsiness, in spite of airs;
To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. In substance, scarce more rare or new, Some parboiľd-some par-rotten too:
Tenterden, February, 1826. Of little worth, in wisdom's eye,
Sir,-I beg to enclose you a specimen of And thrown, at last, like egg-shells by.
a Biddenden cake, and a printed account,
which you may perhaps think worth inThey heard—they frown'd—but fled the sertion in the Every-Day Book. green,
The small town of Biddenden is about As if a thunderbolt had been.
four miles from Tenterden, on the right of the road. It is at present populous,
though the clothing manufacture, which Lostwithiel Custom.
first occasioned the increase of the popuA very singular custom formerly pre
lation of this part of the county, in the vailed at Lostwithiel, in Cornwall, on reign of Edward III. when the Flemings Easter Sunday. The freeholders of the first introduced it, has for many years town and manor having assembled toge.
failed here : several good houses, still rether, either in person or by their deputies, maining, discover the prosperity of the one among them, each in his turn, gaily handsome regular building, and its tower
The church is a attired and gallantly mounted, with a sceptre in his hand, a crown on his head, strength ; a portion of the old part is still
a structure of a considerable height and and a sword borne before him, and respectfully attended by all the rest on
remaining. In this there is a free gramhorseback, rode through the principal
mar school, endowed with a good house street in solemn state to the church. At
and garden, and a salary of 201. per anthe churchyard stile, the curate, or other
num. Two maiden sisters left some land minister, approached to meet him in re
adjoining the glebe to the parish, of the verential poing, and then conducted him
rent of 201. a year, which is held by the to church to hear divine service. On
church wardens, and distributed in bread leaving the church, he repaired, with the
to the poor on Easter-day. same pomp and retinue, to a house pre
sentation of the donors is impressed on viously prepared for his reception. Here the leaves, and on the cakes, which were a feast, suited to the dignity he had as
formerly thrown from the roof of the
church. sumed, awaited him and his suite; and, being placed at the head of the table, hé
In the high chancel against the north was served, kneeling, with all the rites
wall is a monument, with a bust in white and ceremonies that a real prince might marble, executed by Scheemaker, of sir expect. This ceremony ended with the John Norris, who died in 1749; admiral dinner; the prince being voluntarily dis- of the British fleets, and vice-admiral of
J. J. A. F. robed, and descending from his momentary exaltation, to mix with common mortals. On the origin of this custom,
The “ Biddenden cake,” transmitted but one opinion can be reasonably enter through this obliging correspondent, aptained, though it may be difficult to trace pears to have been made some years ago, the precise period of its commencement.
and carefully preserved; the “ printed It seems to have originated in the actual account” accompanying it
, is “adorned”
by a wood cut figure of the founders of appearance of the prince, who resided at Restormel castle in former ages; but on
the endowment, improved by the en the removal of royalty, this mimic gran- cakes. But, altogether setting aside that
graver from the impressions on the deur stepped forth as its shadowy repre- wood cut, the annexed engraving is an sentative, and continued for many generations as a memorial to posterity of the
exact representation of the baker's innprincely magnificence with which Lost- press on the cake sent to the editor, and is withiel had formerly been honoured. *
I am, &c.
of the exact size of the cake. A verbatim copy of the “printed account” on a half sheet of demy, circulated at this time, is subjoined to the present engraving.
* Hitchins's Cornwall
A NEW AND ENLARGED ACCOUNT OF THE
BORN JOINED AT THE HIPS AND SHOULDERS :
N EASTER SUNDAY in every year after Divine Service in the afternoon at the given to Strangers about 1000 Rolls, with an impression on then similar to the Plate. The origin of this Custom is thus related.
In the year 1100 at Biddenden, in Kent, were born ELIZABETH and MARY CHULKHURST, Joined together by the Hips and Shoulders, and who lived in that state, Thirty Four Years !! at the expiration of which time, one of them was taken ill and after a short period died; the surviving one was advised to be separated from the corpse which she absolutely refused by saying these words, “ as we came together, we will also go together," and about six hours after her sister's decease, she was taken ill and died also. A Stone near the Rector's Pew marked with a diagonal line is shewn as the place of their interment. The moon on the east oriel shone, Through slender shafts of shapely stone, The silver light, so pale and faint, Shewed the twin sisters and many a saint, Whose images on the glass were dyeð ; Mysterious maidens side by side. The moon beam kissed the holy pane, And threw on the pavement a mystic
stain. It is further stated, that by their will, they bequeathed to the Churchwardens of the Parish of Biddenden, and their successors, Churchwardens for ever, certain pieces or parcels of Land in the Parish, containing about 20 Acres, which is hired at 40 Guineas per annum, and that in commemoration of this wonderful Phenomenon of Nature, the Rolls and about 300 Quartern Loaves and Cheese in proportion, should be given 10 the Poor Inbabitants of the Parish.
This account is entirely traditionary, the Learned Antiquarian Hasted, in his account of the Charities of the Parish, states the Land“ was the gift of two Maidens, of the name of Preston: and that the print of the women on the cakes has only been used within these 80 years, and was made to represent two poor widows, as the general objects of a charitable benefaction." It is probable that the investigation of the learned Antiquary, brought to light some record of the name of the Ladies, for in the year 1656, the Rev. W. Horner, then Rector of the Parish, claimed the Land, as having been given to augment his glebe, but was non-suited in the court of Exchequer. In the pleadings preserved in the Church, the names of the Ladies are not stated, not being known. There are also two other Places where such Phenomena are said to have occurred.
If these statements weaken the credibility of the tradition, the following account of a Lusus Nature, compiled from the London Medical Repository, for 1821, page 138, will unquestionably confirm the opinion of many as to the probability of the Phenomenon of the Biddenden Maids,-Mr. Livingstone, the Surgeon of the British Factory at Canton, relates that there was shewn at Macao, A-ke, a boy about sixteen years of age, to whom was attached another Male Child, united at the pit of the stomach by the neck, as if his head was plunged into Ake's breast. At the time of their birth they were nearly of an equal size, but the parasite has not much increased since that period. The skin of A-ke joins regularly and smoothly, the neck of the parasite, so that he can turn his brother on either of his sides upon himself, but the natural position is breast to breast; on the whole the parasite is well formed being about two feet in length.-A-ke thinks that at one period their feelings were reciprocal, but for some time he has not perceived it except in one particular act, when his brother never fails to do the same, he however feels the slightest touch applied to his brother.
A-ke has generally a sickly appearance, but excepting the parasite, is well formed; about 4 feet 10 inches high ; is easily fatigued in walking or ascending a flight of steps being obliged to support his brother with his hands. When fatigued he breathes with difficulty, and is only relieved by laying down.
CHAMBERS AND EXALL, Printers, ( King's Arms Printing Office) TENTERDEN.
The preceding “account” is an enlarge- Biddenden is completely thronged. The ment of a preceding one of the same size, public houses are crowded with people on a larger type, with this imprint, attracted from the adjacent towns and “BIDDENDEN : Printed and Sold by R. villages by the usage, and the wonderful WESTON~1808. [Price Two-pence.]” account of its origin, and the day is spent R. Weston's paper does not contain the in rude festivity. story of “ A-ke," which is well calculated to make the legend of the “Biddenden To elucidate this annual custom as Maids," pass current with the vulgar. fully as possible, all that Mr. Hasted says
Our Tenterden correspondent adds, in of the matter is here extracted :a subsequent letter, that, on Easter Sunday, “Twenty acres of land, called the
Bread and Cheese Land, lying in five To the Editor of the Every-Day Book. pieces, were given by persons unknown,
Durham, March 3, 1826. the yearly rents to be distributed among
Sir,—To contribute towards the informathe poor of this parish. This is yearly tion you desire to convey concerning popudone on Easter Sunday in the afternoon, lar customs, &c. I will describe one, much in six hundred cakes, each of which have the figures of two woman impressed on have not noticed in the former volume of
practised in Durham, which I think you them, and are given to all such as attend
your interesting work. the church; and two hundred and seventy
On Easter Sunday it is a common loaves, weighing three pounds and a half
custom here, for a number of boys to a piece, to which latter is added one
assemble in the afternoon, and as soon as pound and an half of cheese, are given, the clock strikes four, scour the streets in to the parishoners only, at the same time. parties, and accost every female they may
“There is a vulgar tradition in these happen to meet, with “pay for your shoes parts, that the figures on the cakes repre- if you please,” at the same time, stooping sent the donors of this gift, being two
to take them off; which, if they do, and women, twins, who were joined together in do not immediately get a penny or twotheir bodies, and lived together so, till they were between twenty and thirty years of main force. I have known the boys have,
pence, they will actually carry off by age. But this seems without foundation. at least, a dozen odd shoes; but geneThe truth seems to be, that it was the gift of rally, something is given, which in the two maidens of the name of Preston, and eveving they either spend in public that the print of the women on the cakes houses, or divide. On Easter Monday, has taken place only within these fifty the women claim the same privilege toyears, and was made to represent two wards the male sex. They begin much poor widows as the general objects of a earlier in the day, and attack every man charitable benefaction. William Horner, and boy they can lay hold of to make rector of this parish in 1656 brought a them pay for their shoes ; if the men suit in the exchequer for the recovery of happen to wear boots, and will not pay these lands, as having been given for an augmentation of his glebe land, but be any thing, the girls generally endea
vour to seize their hats and run off, If was nonsuited. The lands are bounded
a man catches the girl with the hat, it is on the east by the glebe, on the south by usually thrown or handed about to the the highway, and one piece on the north great amusement of the spectators, till the of the highway; they are altogether of
person is baffled out of a sixpence to rethe yearly value of about 312, 108."*
deem the right of wearing it again : but this, like all
other old customs, has greatly
fallen off lately, and is now chiefly pracAllusion is made by the rev. Mr. Fos- tised by a few children. broke, to a custom in the thirteenth cen
I am, &c.
J. B. tury of seizing all ecclesiastics who walked abroad between Easter and Pentecost, because the apostles were seized
A contributor to the “ Gentleman's by the Jews after Christ's passion; and Magazine” in August, 1790, says that, at making them purchase their liberty by Rippon, in Yorkshire, “ on Easter Sunmoney.t
day, as soon as the service of the church Mr. Brand relates, “ that on Easter is over, the boys run about the streets, Sunday, is still retained at the city of and lay hold of every woman or girl they Durham in the Easter holidays : on one
can, and take their buckles from their day the men take off the women's shoes, shoes. This farce is continued till the or rather buckles, which are only to be next day at noon, when the females begin, redeemed by a present: on another day and return the compliment upon the men, the women make reprisals, taking off the which does not end till Tuesday evening; men's in like manner.” The annexed let- nay, I was told that, some years ago, no ter shows that the practice in that city is not traveller could pass through the town quite out of fashion, though buckles are.
without being stopped and having his spurs taken away, unless redeemed by a
little money, which is the only way to * Hasted's Kent, 1790
have your buckles returned."
+ Fosbroke's British Monachism.