The Origins Of Popular Superstitions And Customs  ~ Magick7





Hasted, in his History of Kent, speaking of Biddenden, tells us that "twenty acres of land, called the Bread and Cheese Land, lying in five pieces, were given by persons unknown, the yearly rents to be distributed among the poor of this parish. This is yearly done on Easter Sunday, in the afternoon, in six hundred cakes, each of which have the figures of two women impressed on them, and are given to all such as attend the church; and two hundred and seventy loaves, weighing three pounds and a half a-piece, to which latter is added one pound and a half of cheese, are given to the parishioners only, at the same time. There is a vulgar tradition in these parts that the figures on the cakes represent the donors of this gift, being two women, twins, who were joined together in their bodies, and lived together so till they were between twenty and thirty years of age. But this seems without foundation. The truth seems to be that it was the gift of two maidens of the name of Preston--and that the print of the women on the cakes has taken place only within these fifty years, and was made to represent two poor widows, as the general objects of a charitable benefaction. An engraving of one of these cakes will be found in Hone's Every Day Book."

These cakes or loaves are still given out on Easter Sunday, and in Sir Benjamin Stone's Pictures of National Life and History there is a photograph of the people receiving their cakes.