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The church of Biddenden in Kent has a large number of brasses. These are mostly of local wealthy families many of whom made their fortunes through both farming and clothmaking. This area of Kent was a centre of woollen cloth manufacture at the time with wool from sheep on the downs and on Romney Marsh. The trade declined in the early seventeenth century.

Biddenden1

John Mayne died 1566. He is shown as a bearded man in armour. His six sons wear civilian dress. Only two survived him. He founded a grammar school in the village which still bears his name though it is now a primary school.

Biddenden2

Margaret Mayne, wife of John with her seven daughters of whom only three survived. She wears a french hood and a lace collar. Her skirts show the fastening ribbins at the front. The sleeves have puffs at the top. All of the daughters wear similar clothes.

Biddenden3

John Everdenden who died in 1598. A clothier and farmer. He wears a long gown with hanging sleeves and a ruff but his features are very worn.

Biddenden4

William Boddenden died 1579. He wears a ruff and a loose fur lined gown with short sleeves to show the close fitting sleeves of his doublet. c 1584

Biddenden5

Juliana first wife of Wm Boddenden. She wears a low crowned hat worn over a coif and a high necked full skirted gown with a girdle and lace trim. c 1584

Biddenden6

Anna second wife of Wm Boddenden. She also wears a low crowned hat over a coif, a high necked full skirted gown with lace trim. c 1584

Biddenden7

William son of Wm Boddenden. He wears a long fur lined gown with loose sleeves, a high necked close fitting doublet with lace trim. His hair is short and he wears a beard.

Biddenden8

Richard Allarde a clotheir who died 1593 with his first wife Helen. He wears a long gown over a buttoned doublet with a ruff. Helen wears a french hood, ruff, bodice and skirts tied at the waist. The brass shows his other wives but they are identical to Helen. Allarde later moved to Rochester in Kent where he became Mayor.

Biddenden9

Francis, Susan and Phoebe Allarde children of Richard. Francis grew up to be a bit of a tearaway. They are dressed in a very similar way to the adults.

Biddenden10

Thomas Fleete who died in 1572 aged 29. Despite his headless state it shows a younger man in a fringed doublet and a long fur lined gown.

BiddendenLab1

The church also has three Labours of the Month roundels. The third one is against the glazing bars and impossible to see. They are probably continental so there is pruning vines in March. Biddenden now has a vinyard.

BiddendenLab2

Sowing in April in shirt, hat and hosen.

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