General history: Kings of Kent (Hengist to Baldred)

Pages 62-80

The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 1. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1797.

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ALTHOUGH Hengist had thus established himself in the kingdom of Kent, yet the Britons still kept possession of a considerable part of the three provinces he had so unjustly extorted from Vortigern. The natives every where shewed the greatest detestation of the Saxons, and a resolution not to submit to their government till the last extremity. This exceedingly perplexed Hengist; he plainly saw the Britons would never submit to him, except by force, and he was fearful of using that, lest the country should be dispeopled by it, and the lands lying waste and uncultivated, his new dominions would be of little or no use to him. In this situation he resolved to send into Germany, and invite some more of his countrymen over; and offered, as an inducement, to divide these provinces among them. He was convinced the Saxons already with him in Britain, were not more than sufficient to people Kent, and to supply the forces he was obliged to keep up, to oppose the Britons from time to time, and by thus settling the Saxons in the country around him, which could not otherwise be of any use to him, and must remain in the hands of his inveterate enemies, it would be a kind of barrier against them, and their cause being mutual, the Saxons would always unite to oppose the Britons; by which means he would have no cause to fear any attack they might make upon him, and he should further, by this means, the only one in all probability which he could take, secure the succession of the kingdom of Kent to his posterity.

Hengist's invitation was joyfully accepted of by Ella, a Saxon general, of the posterity of Woden, who, with his three sons, Cymen, Wlencing, and Cissa, and a large company of Saxons, embarked for Britain. They landed in Sussex, at a place, from Ella's eldest son, afterwards called Cymen's Shore, not without great opposition from the Britons. The Saxons, though they were tall, strong, and vigorous, met with a warm reception from the Britons, and after a long contest, at last gained possession of the shore, and drove the Britons as far as the forest of Andredsweald, now the weald or woody part of Sussex and Kent, to the place supposed to be now called Wittering in Sussex. After this retreat of the Britons, the Saxons possessed themselves of all the sea-coast of Sussex, and continued to extend their dominions more and more towards the Thames, though not without frequent battles with the natives, which obliged them to send continually for fresh supplies out of their own country; however, in the end, they maintained their ground, and being possessed of the southern shore, were called from thence Suth, or South Saxons, and their country, Sussex. Hengist, thus powerfully strengthened by the arrival of his countrymen, gave as many of his Saxons, as desired it, leave to return into Germany, as the Britons were so much harassed by continual wars, in which they were for the most part worsted, particularly at Wippedsfleet in 465, and in another battle in 473, (fn. 1) that they were in no condition to make head against him. They were indeed, grieved to see the Saxons so firmly settled in Britain; but their weakness prevented the most distant hopes of dispossessing them. (fn. 2) Hengist died about twelve years after the arrival of Ella, in the year 488, thirtynine years after his first landing in Britain, and thirtythree years since his taking upon himself the title of King of Kent. Though Hengist must have been allowed by every one to have been a brave and gallant soldier, yet his character was sullied by a continual scene of bloodshed, and the most inhuman cruelties, to which, and to his fraud and treachery, he owed most of his success; in particular, the murder of the British lords, mentioned above, will always remain an indelible stain on his memory.

The wapen, or arms of Hengist, according to Verstegan, were a leaping white horse, or hengit, in a red field; similar to which are the present arms of this county, the only difference being the colour of the field; which, in the latter, is blue.

He was succeeded in the kingdom of Kent by his son Escus; or, as some write him, Oisc, who began his reign in the year 488, from whom the inhabitants of Kent were sometimes called Eskins, and Oiscingians. He had likewise a son, named Audoacer, who staid behind in Germany; and a daughter, Rowena, married, as is said, to Vortigern, king of Kent; all of whom were born before Hengist's first landing in Britain; at which time, indeed, Rowena was marriageable, which shews he must have died in a good old age.


WHEN his father died, Escus was in the northern parts of Britain, where he had been sent the year before to assist against the Britons; but as soon as he had notice of it, he hastened into Kent, to take possession of the kingdom. As he had not the valour or abilities of his father, he seems rather to have defended than enlarged his kingdom, preferring his ease to the fatigues of war. For the three first years of his reign, there was a general truce between the Saxons and Britons, at the end of which Ella, having received a strong reinforcement out of Germany, went and besieged the ancient station of Anderida, or Andredceaster, situated, as some think, within the bounds of Kent, at Newenden; and others, in the near neighbourhood of it, in Sussex, at Pevensey or Hastings. However this may be, the Britons assembled in multitudes to raise the siege, and harrassed the Saxons in such a manner, that they were forced to break up from before the town, and by skirmishes with the Britons to drive them by battle into the woods. Notwithstanding which, they returned again upon them, which obliged the Saxons to divide their army into two parts, with one of which they kept the Britons off, and, at the same time, with the other they carried on the siege. At length, after a vigorous defence, the city was taken by storm; but the Saxons were so enraged at the losses and fatigues it had occasioned them, that they put all the inhabitants to the sword, burnt the city, and rased all the walls and places of defence to the ground. Immediately after this, Ella assumed the title of King of Sussex, or the South Saxons, which he durst not do whilst Hengist was alive. (fn. 3) This was the second Saxon kingdom, and contained the present counties of Sussex and Surry. Ella was also elected chief or general, of the Saxons in Britain, in the room of Hengist; for they, like the Britons, always chose one of their princes, whom they invested with the supreme power, to conduct their affairs during a war, who was accountable only to the states, and was a kind of monarch, or head, over the other kings.

In the year 495, Cerdic, a noble Saxon general, arrived in Britain with a large body of Saxons; (fn. 4) he was illustrious not only on account of his own conquests, but for his descent, being sprung from Woden, the root of all the principal Saxon families; from him the kings of England, down to king Edward the Confessor, in the male line, were descended; and in the female, down to his present Majesty of Great-Britain. He was also famous as founder of a kingdom, to which all the rest in the end became subject; and, consequently, he must be esteemed as one of the first founders of the English monarchy. This warlike prince, having acquired great reputation in Germany, and finding no farther employment there, resolved, after the example of hie countrymen, to seek his fortune in Britain. Wherefore, embarking with his men in five ships, he landed at a place called, from thence, Cerdic's Ora; but as his encounters with the Britons were in the further parts of Britain, it will not be within the compass of my design to follow him thither. I shall, therefore, return to Escus, king of Kent, of whom nothing remarkable is related by our historians. He died, after a reign of twenty-two years, in 512, leaving the kingdom of Kent to his son Octa, who became third king thereof.


TWO years after king Octa's accession to the throne of Kent, Ella, king of Sussex, died, and the monarchy of the Saxons was conferred on Cerdic above-mentioned, who, after many bloody battles, gaining a signal victory over the Britons in the year 519, took possession of the present counties of Hampshire and Somersetshire, where he founded the kingdom of Wessex, or the West Saxons, so called, because it lay west of Kent and Sussex, this being the third kingdom of the Saxons in Britain. From the time Hengist had peopled Essex and Middlesex with Saxons, those provinces had been governed by a præfect, or deputy, under the king of Kent; but in the year 527, Erchenwin, a descendant of Woden, who then held that post under Octa, taking advantage of that king's weakness, engaged the people to acknowledge him as king, which was the foundation of the kingdom of the East Saxons, being the fourth erected by that nation in Britain.

Octa, third king of Kent, after an inactive reign of twenty-two years, died in the year 534; and was succeeded by his son Hermenric.


DURING whose reign, that is, in 547, Ida, a famous chief, an Angle by nation, and a descendant of Woden, arrived in Britain with a number of his countrymen. They landed at Flamborough, in Yorkshire, then in the possession of the Northumbrian Saxons, who received them as friends. The Northumbrians, so called from their inhabiting north of the Humber, had maintained themselves in that country ever since the time of Hengist, and had been always in some dependence on the kings of Kent; but being so far from them, the distance prevented their receiving any assistance, or indeed having any intercourse with them, which made them tired of their subjection, and Ida found them ready to receive him, and the numerous company of Angles that he brought with him, and they acknowledged him as king of Northumberland; (fn. 5) which was the foundation of the fifth Saxon kingdom in Britain, which proved a very powerful one, for it comprehended all Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Northumberland, with part of Scotland, as far as Edinburgh Frith. At this time, those parts of the country, which remained in the hands of the Britons, were parcelled out into little independent states, who weakened each other by the discord that reigned among their respective princes. The British historians give such a character of these petty sovereigns, that the nation in general could have but small hopes of assistance from any one, or all of them together. They were remarkable for vice and tyranny, rapine and violence; these sovereigns were divided among themselves, and as they had no confidence in each other, they could never agree upon proper measures to free themselves from the impending calamities, so that each pursuing his own separate interest, the Saxons, their common enemy, were left at liberty to establish themselves upon their ruin.

As to Hermenric, king of Kent, we have nothing left relating to him worth mentioning, excepting that in the year 561, he admitted his son Ethelbert partner with him in the kingdom, though the latter was then but a youth. Hermenric died in 564, leaving a daughter, named Rickell, who married Sledda, second king of the East Saxons; and Ethelbert, his son and partner in the kingdom above-mentioned, who succeeded to the entire possession of it on his father's death, and became one of the most celebrated monarchs, not only of Kent, but of the whole heptarchy. (fn. 6)


THOUGH Ethelbert, when he ascended the throne, was but young, yet he had a great and aspi- ring genius, and beheld, with regret, the loss of that superiority which Hengist, as monarch, had over all the Saxons settled in Britain. To regain this, he resolved to revive his pretensions to this dignity by force of arms, and for that purpose declared war against Ceaulin, king of the West Saxons, who then possessed it. This occasioned the first civil war among the Saxons in Britain since their arrival in it. When Ethelbert took this resolution, he did not consider the disproportion between his forces and those of his enemy, which he soon was but too sensible of; for Ceaulin, disdaining to wait to be attacked by so young a prince, and one of no reputation, marched to meet Ethelbert, and meeting him at Wibbandune, now Wimbledon, in Surry, entirely routed him, Oslace and Cnebba, two sons of Ethelbert's chief commanders, being slain; and being defeated again a second time, Ethelbert was forced to sue for peace. His vexation, at so unexpected a disappointment, was increased by the mockery he received from the other princes, for his presumption. Indeed, he had occasion for this mortifying lesson, to teach him, that courage alone is not sufficient for success, unless accompanied with prudence and strength. However, he improved so much by it, that he afterwards became one of the wisest and most illustrious princes of his nation. Not long after this, that is about the year 575, began, as is supposed (for the year is not mentioned in the Saxon Annals, or any other antient history) the kingdom of the East Angles, comprising the counties we now call Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and the isle of Ely, being the sixth Saxon kingdom in Britain; it was founded by Uffa, the eighth from Woden, from whom the succeeding kings were called Uffingæ. The Saxons were now become so numerous and powerful over the whole country, that they began afresh to harass the Britons, and in a few years drove them out from every part of the island, now known by the name of England. During the time of the war between the two nations, that is, in the year 585, the seventh kingdom of the Saxons in Britain was foudned by Crida, (fn. 7) of the race of Woden, who had landed with a numerous body of Angles, his countrymen, in a fleet the most considerable of any that had come from Germany. This was called the kingdom of the Middle Saxons, and afterwards the kingdom of Mercia. This, though the last erected, was one of the largest of the English Saxon kingdoms, and one of the last that was conquered by the West Saxons. It comprehended seventeen counties; to wit—
Cheshire, and part of Hertfordshire.

The Britons were now confined within very narrow bounds; for having abandoned their ancient seats, they took shelter amongst the craggy and mountainous places in the west of the island, which the Latins called Cambria; and the English, after the German custom, Wales, whither their merciless enemies could not easily pursue them. This first civil war among the Saxons (fn. 8) was followed by many more, caused by the restlessness and ambition of their princes. As soon as they were out of danger from the Britons, they quarrelled among themselves, with such animosity, that if the Britons had had an able and courageous monarch to have led them forward, they might have recovered all they had lost.

Ceaulin, king of the West Saxons, was so elated with his success against Ethelbert, that he looked upon the neighbouring princes as his subjects and vassals; in all likelihood they would have soon been really so, had not death snatched him away in the midst of his ambitious projects. (fn. 9) After Ceaulin's death, Ethelbert was elected monarch of the Anglo-Saxons; and though in the beginning of his reign his ill success had brought on him the scorn and contempt of the neighbouring princes, insomuch that he could scarce defend his own territories, yet now being of riper years and more experienced, he soon brought under his subjection all the nations of the Anglo-Saxons, except the Northumbrians, who alone found means to keep themselves independent. The rest chose rather to submit than to contend with him.

Ethelbert, besides his being formidable to his neighbours for his personal accomplishments, had, moreover, the advantage of being allied to France. by means of his marriage with Bertha, daughter of Charibert, king of Paris; a circumstance which procured him great respect from all of them. Though the haughtiness with which Ethelbert treated the rest of the princes, made them very uneasy, yet they had still a much greater reason to be alarmed, when, on the death of Crida, king of Mercia, he seized on that kingdom, notwithstanding the deceased king had left a son of fit age to succeed him. In this he exactly imitated Ceaulin, though he had himself stirred up the other kings against that monarch, on account of his ambition. Ethelbert, it seems, pretended that he had a right, as monarch and descendant of Hengift, to succeed to all the vacant thrones in the heptarchy. Alarmed at this, they began to take measures to put a stop to so open an usurpation. But Ethelbert, dreading left they should all join in a league against him, and treat him in the same manner they did Ceaulin, would not expose himself to the same danger. Therefore, to make them easy, he restored the kingdom of Mercia to Wibba, the son of Crida, reserving, however, such an authority over him, that he durst not undertake any thing without his permission. The English princes seemed satisfied with this, and laying aside all thoughts of a war, turned their thoughts to their own domestic concerns. Nothing more remarkable happened during the rest of Ethelbert's reign, except what relates to religion. It was about the year 597, that king Ethelbert embraced the Christian faith, and was baptised by saint Augustine, the first archbishop of Canterbury, to which his queen, Bertha, had prepared the way, which example was followed by great numbers of his subjects; and so great was the respect and esteem which the king entertained for Augustine, and the profession which he had embraced, that he gave him his royal palace at Canterbury, as an habitation for himself and his disciples; and retiring to Reculver, about eight miles distant from thence, built another palace there, out of the ruins of the old Roman buildings at that place. In the year 604, king Ethelbert and his queen kept their Christmas at Canterbury, during which the king endowed the monastery he had erected there, at the request of Augustine, with great revenues and immunities, and dedicated it to the apostles, saint Peter and saint Paul. The laws which the king made with the advice of his Wittenagemot, or Great Council, are still extant in the Saxon language, and are printed, with those of the rest of the Saxon kings, in the edition of the Textus Roffensis, in Dr. Hickes's Thefaurus, in Archaionomia, and in bishop Wilkins's Leges Anglo Saxonicæ; which as they are the most antient of our Saxon laws, so they shew the plainness and simplicity of the times.

Ethelbert had two wives: the first was Bertha, of France, by whom he had Eadbald, his successor, and Ethelburga, married to Edwin, king of Northumberland. The name of his second wife is unknown. He died in 616, having reigned fifty-three years, and was buried in the porch of saint Martin, within the church of the abovementioned abbey, just by his royal consort, queen Bertha, who died some years before.


HE was succeeded by his son Eadbald, who became the sixth king of Kent. A man very unlike his father; for as soon as he became his own master, he forsook the Christian religion, and became again a heathen, and is even said to have married the queen, his mother-in-law. (fn. 10)

His vices rendering him slothful and inactive, all the English kings cast off the yoke they had worn during the life of Ethelbert; and among the rest, the king of Mercia freed himself from the servitude Ethelbert had kept him in; and Eadbald had neither courage nor power to maintain what the king his father had, as he thought, so firmly established. However, at last he was brought to a sense of his errors, and again embracing Christianity, he spent the remainder of his days in the practice of its precepts, and dying in the year 640,b was buried, near his father, in the same abbey, in a chapel there, which he himself had built. By Emma, daughter of the king of France, he left two sons, Ermenfride and Ercombert; and a daughter named Eanswith, who became a nun, and was foundress, under his patronage, of the nunnery at Folkestone, in this county. His sister, Ethelburga, called Tate, who had been married to Edwine, king of Northumberland, and baptised by Paulinus, with great numbers of people in those parts, upon her husband's death; and a persecution thereupon arising against the Christians, fled to Eadbald for protection, who received her and her children, and gave her a portion of land at Liminge, where she founded a church, and was afterwards buried. (fn. 11)


ERCOMBERT, though the younger of king Eadbald's sons, found means to ascend the throne in prejudice of his elder brother, as some say, by the appointment of his father. This prince was a zealous Christian, and ordered the heathen temples to be razed to the ground, and the idols to be broken in pieces, left they should hereafter prove a snare to the people. (fn. 12) On his brother Ermenfride's being seized with a distemper which brought him to the grave, Ercombert promised to leave the crown, which of right belonged to him, to his children, but he was not so good as his word. Ermenfride left issue by his wife Oslava, two sons, Ethelred and Ethelbrit; and two daughters, Ermenburga and Ermengiva; the former of whom, who was also called Domneva, had issue by her husband Merwald, son of Penda, king of Mercia; one son, Merefine; and three daughters, Milburg, Mildred, and Milgith, who were all four sainted. (fn. 13)

Ercombert died in 664, and was buried in saint Augustine's monastery, being much esteemed, as well for his piety as love to his country. By Sexburga, the daughter of Anna, king of the East Saxons, he had two sons, Egbert and Lothair; and two daughters, Ermenilda, wife of Wulpher, king of Mercia: and Ermengotha, a nun.


EGBERT succeeded his father in the kingdom of Kent, and became a great encourager of learning and the liberal arts; which then, under the endeavours of archbishop Theodore, began to make their appearance in England. He was a kind patron of the ministers of the gospel, receiving and entertaining them with much generosity. But these actions were much sullied by the murder of his two nephews, Ethelred and Ethelbrit; whom, at the instigation of one Thunor, a flattering sycophant, he caused to be put to death, lest they should disturb him in the possession of the crown. To expiate this guilt, according to the custom of those times, he gave Domneva, their sister, a sufficient quantity of land in the isle of Thanet to found a monastery on. He gave also to one Bassa, in the year 669, the palace and lands of Reculver, in Kent, (where, from the time of king Ethelbert, had been the palace of the kings of Kent) to build another monastery there, as a farther atonement for his crime. He died, according to the best authorities, in the year 673, leaving two sons, Edric and Widred, who were both set aside, to make way for their uncle Lothair, who usurped the throne on his brother Egbert's death. (fn. 14)


LOTHAIR did not reign long unmolested; (fn. 15) his first thoughts were employed in securing the succession of the crown to his posterity; for which purpose he made his son Richard, by his wife, daughter of Sigerus, king of the East Saxons, and sister to king Offa, partner with him in the government. This obliged his nephew, Edric, to withdraw from court, and apply to Adelwalch, king of Sussex, for assistance, who kindly received him, and supplied him with a considerable force. This involved the country in a dreadful scene of war and bloodshed. At length, after several engagements, with various success, Lothair was vanquished, and died of the wounds he received in battle; and was buried in saint Augustine's monastery, near king Ercombert.


AFTER this victory, Edric was crowned without opposition, about the year 68ç. His short reign was a continued scene of warfare with his subjects, by whom he was slain, within the space of two years, leaving the kingdom of Kent so weakened and embroiled, that it became a prey to the several usurpers who attempted the conquest of it.


HE was succeeded by his brother Wired, but as he had not the general approbation of the people, he was obliged to admit one Swabert as partner in the kingdom. Soon after which Cedwalla, king of the West Saxons, imagining the intestine divisions of Kent would render the kingdom an easy conquest, sent an army into it, under the command of his brother Mollo, who over-ran and wasted great part of the country, carrying off great quantities of spoil. This roused in the Kentishmen their wonted courage, and uniting together in a considerable body, they put Mollo and his troops to flight. This prince, perceiving he was closely pursued, took shelter, with twelve others, in a house, which they valiantly defended for some time; but the Kentish soldiers setting fire to it, they all miserably perished in the flames. Cedwalla, irritated at the fate of his brother, whom he tenderly loved, resolved to revenge his death. For which purpose he entered Kent with a formidable army, and never quitted it till he had wasted the whole country with fire and sword, which reduced it to such a state, that this kingdom never afterwards made any great figure in the heptarchy.

The two kings, Widred and Swabert, enjoyed no repose till the year 691; when, having got rid of some other petty princes, who pretended a right to part of their territories, they divided the government between them, and the country was again reduced to a state of peace and quietness within itself. Cedwalla was not content with the revenge he had taken, on account of his brother's death; he strongly recommended the pursuit of it to his successor, Ina; who, in 694, made great preparations to invade this kingdom, and having actually marched hither, put the whole country in a consternation. The Kentishmen, after having tried every means to persuade him to relinquish so cruel a design, found money the only prevailing argument; on which they offered him thirty thousand marks of gold, which he accepted, and immediately returned home. Soon after this, Swabert dying, Widred reigned alone in Kent, and continued in peace to the time of his death, which happened in the year 725. (fn. 16) This prince was a great patron of the church, and favourer of the clergy. He called the famous council of Becancelde, in 694, wherein he confirmed several immunities and privileges to them.

He was buried near the body of saint Augustine, in the south part of the porch of our Lady's chapel, built by king Eadbald. He had been twice married; his first wife's name being Werburga, and the other Kynygytha; and he left three sons, Ethelbert, Eadbert, and Aldric; though the Saxon Chronicle names them Eadbert, Ethelbert, and Edmund, and says, they succeeded in turn to the crown.


ETHELBERT succeeded his father Widred in the year 725, taking, according to some writers, his two brothers, Eadbert and Aldric, as partners with him in the government. But as this kingdom now made no great figure, historians have made little or no mention of it, or of the several princes who reigned over it. (fn. 17) In the year 748 Eadbert died; after whose death Ethelbert associated with him Ardulph, his son, as partner in the government; and some letters are still extant, which these princes wrote to Boniface, archbishop of Metz. It appears also, from the evidences of Christ church, Canterbury, in the Decem Scriptores, that this Ardulphus gave some land at Berghamsted, in this county, to Eadbert, abbot of Reculver. King Ethelbert died in the year 760, having survived his brother Eadbert about twelve years. He was buried, as some write, at Reculver; but according to others, with his predecessors in saint Augustine's monastery, in Canterbury.

About this time there was one Sigeward, king of a part of Kent, if any credit is to be given to one of his grants, extant in the Textus Roffensis, in which he stiles himself, Rex dimidiæ partis provinciæ Cantuariorum. It seems highly probable, that this kingdom had, for some time before this, been subdivided into several governments, and this might be one reason that no mention is made of them in our histories, as being too inconsiderable to be noticed, in comparison of the other princes of the heptarchy.


ARDULPH died before his father, king Ethelbert, so that Aldric, the third, and only surviving son of Widred, succeeded to the crown. This prince was frequently attacked by his neighbours, who, perceiving the weak state of the kingdom, thought it a fair opportunity to subdue it. Of these Offa, king of Mercia, was one of the most forward. In the year 774, Offa invaded Kent, and fought a famous battle with Aldric, at Otford in this county, where the former gained the victory, after a great flaughter on both sides. This sunk the affairs of Aldric exceeding low, and had not Offa been diverted from pursuing the fruits of his success, by the invasion of his own kingdom by the Welsh, he would then, in all likelihood, have united Kent to Mercia. Aldric had associated his son Alcmund as partner with him on the throne; but this prince died before his father, and neither leaving any heirs, with them ended the right line of the Saxon kings of Kent, of the race of Hengist. (fn. 18)


AFTER the death of Aldric, Eadbert, or Edilbert, surnamed Pren, took possession of the throne, but Cenulph, king of Mercia, did not suffer him to enjoy it long in peace; for taking advantage of the weak state the kingdom was in, he ravaged it from one end to the other. At last, having defeated Eadbert, he carried him into Mercia, where he ordered his eyes to be put out. and his hands to be cut off.


AFTER this, Cenulph placed one Cudred on the throne, who was in absolute dependence on him. He began his reign about the year 797, and having reigned obscurely about eight years, died in the year 805. Five of his coins in silver, are described in Hickes's Dissertations and Epistles, p. 168, pl. iv.


BALDRED succeeded Cudred in the kingdom of Kent, and after a reign of eighteen years, in which time nothing memorable is recorded of him, was driven out of his kingdom by the victorious Egbert, king of the West Saxons, and the first sole monarch of that nation in Britain; who, sending Ethelwulf his son, Bishop Ealstan, and his præfect, Wulfeard, with a great army, reduced this kingdom to his obedience, and drove Baldred across the Thames into the northern parts; on which the South and East Saxons, and the people of Surry likewise submitted themselves to his government, and owned his sovereignty. And thus, in the year 823, (fn. 19) ended the kingdom of Kent, properly so called, whilst it had a distinct king of its own, after having continued in that state about 368 years.

Egbert, who began his reign over the West Saxons in the year 800, did not finish his conquests till 827, or 828, from which time his title of king of England is to be dated, as well as the dissolution of the Saxon heptarchy. Notwithstanding which, this prince was only in actual possession of the antient kingdoms of Wessex. Sussex, Kent, and Essex, peopled by the Saxons. As for the other three kingdoms, whose inhabitants were Angles, he was contented with reserving to himself the soverignty over them, permitting them to be governed by kings who were his vassals and tributaries, and for several successions held their former usual titles.


  • 1. Flor. Worcest. p. 544. H. Hunt. lib. ii. Alford ad an. 465. Ethelwerd, lib i. Alford ad hunc an.
  • 2. Chron. Sax. ad an. 477. M. Westm. ibid. Flor. Worcest. Ib.
  • 3. Ethelward, an. 492. H. Hunt. lib. ii. Chron. Sax. ad an. 490. Flor. Worcest. p. 545. Matt. Westm. ad an. 492.
  • 4. Ethelwerd, an. 495. Flor. Worcest. p. 546. W. Malmsb. lib. i. cap. 2. H. Hunt. lib. ii. Matt. Westm. ad an. 494.
  • 5. In 547. W. Malmsb. lib. i. cap. iii.
  • 6. Flor. Worcest. p. 552.
  • 7. Ethelwerd, lib. i. W. Malmsb. lib. i. cap. i. Hen. Hunt. lib. ii. and Matt. West. ad an. 568; Alford ad an. 575, 586; Matt. West. ad hunc an.
  • 8. Alford ad an. 568, 569; Hen. Hunt. lib. ii.
  • 9. Saxon Chron. in 593. Bede, lib. i. cap. 25. W. Malmsb. lib. i. cap. 1; Thorne, Col. 1759; Parker, Eccles. Brit. p. 61.
  • 10. Bede, lib. ii. cap. v. Chron. Sax. ad an. 616. Flor. Worcest. P. 556; Bede, lib. cap. 5; Chron Sax. ad an. 640.
  • 11. Thorne, Col. 1906; Parker, Eccles. Brit. p. 78.
  • 12. W. Malmsb. lib. i. cap. i. Thorne, Col. 1769; M. Westm. ad an. 640.
  • 13. Flor. Worcest. p. 558, 564; Thorne, Col. 1906; M. Westm. ad an. 676.
  • 14. Bede, lib. iv. cap. 2; W. Malmsb. lib. i. cap. 1; and lib. ii. cap. 13; H. Hunt. lib. iii. Thorne, Col. 1096; Chron. Sax. Flor. Worcest. p. 563.
  • 15. Bede, lib. iv. cap. 12; H. Hunt. lib. ii. Chron. Abb. S. Petri de Burgo, an. 677.
  • 16. Bede, lib. iv. cap. 26; Flor. Worcest. p. 566; W. Malmsb. lib. i. cap. 1; Thorne, Col. 1770; Chron. Sax. ad an. 687; H. Hunt. lib. iv. Bromton, Col. 742, 758.
  • 17. Bede, lib. v. cap. 24; Flor. Worcest. p. 572; Spelm. Councils, lib. i. f. 189; Bede; Flor. Worcest. H. Hunt. Ib. Chr. Ab. sci Petri de Burgo.
  • 18. Chron. Sax. Flor. Worcest. p. 573; Alf. Ann. Text. Roff. p. 74; W. Malmsh. lib. i. cap. 1. H. Hunt. lib. iv.
  • 19. Ethelwerd, lib. iii. c. 1, 2. S. Dunelm, Col. 11; Flor. Worc. ibid. W. Malmsb. lib. i. cap. 1. Matt. Westm. Alford's Ann. Ingulphus, Brady, p. 111.