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J R Soc Med. 1996 December; 89(12): 711–716.
PMCID: PMC1296041

The Countess Margaret of Henneberg and her 365 children.


According to an obscure medieval legend, the Countess Margaret of Henneberg, a notable Dutch noblewoman, gave birth to 365 children in the year 1276. The haughty Countess had insulted a poor beggar woman carrying twins, since she believed that a pair of twins must have different fathers, and that their mother must be an adultress. She was punished by God, and gave birth to 365 minute children on Good Friday, 1276. The Countess died shortly after, together with her offspring, in the village of Loosduinen near The Hague. The Countess and her numerous brood were frequently described in historical and obstetrical works. To this day, a memorial tablet and two basins, representing those in which the 365 children were baptized, are to be seen in the church of Loosduinen.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Rather LJ. Ambroise Pare, The Countess Margaret, multiple births, and hydatidiform mole. Bull N Y Acad Med. 1971 May;47(5):508–515. [PubMed]
  • Bondeson J. The Biddenden Maids: a curious chapter in the history of conjoined twins. J R Soc Med. 1992 Apr;85(4):217–221. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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