Author: Lucy Neame, South Australia

Kingdom of Kent


A detailed history of Kent can be found on the website below :-

The Kingdom of Kent was one of the original Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England.

Of completely obscure origins, it received some of the first waves of the Saxon invasion, at a time when almost no historical information has survived. The name "Kent" predates the Jutish invaders, and relates to the much earlier Celtic Kentii tribe whose homeland it was. There is evidence to suggest that Kent and its boundaries relate to this British sub-kingdom because it was handed over in entirety to King Hengist by treaty during the mid 5th century.

It is thought that the first Anglo-Saxon settlers  were invited to Britain by Vortigem.   Hengist and Horsa,  the sons of Wihtgils,  led a team of mercenaries to ward off the maurauding Picts and Scots (c.449).  At that time Kent was the British kingdon of Ceiint, but legend has it that  Vortigen exchanged it for Hengist’s daughter.

Legend mentions a Gwrangon or Gourong viceroy to Vortigern in the 420s or 430s. However, the first securely datable event in the kingdom is the arrival of Augustine with 40 monks in 597.

Kent seems to have had its greatest power under Ęthelbert at the beginning of the 7th century; by the middle of the century it seems to have been dominated by Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex. In 764 King Offa of Mercia took over Kent, ending its independent existence.   The lands of the kingdom are now part of the County of Kent.


(Note that most of the dates of reigns below have multiple alternate values, the sources being in disagreement. The sources mention multiple rulers, as "underkings", although the exact nature of the relationships is not clear.)


  • K. P. Witney, The Kingdom of Kent (1982)
  • D. P. Kirby, The Earliest English Kings (London: Unwin Hyman, 1991), chap.


Contributor: Lucy Neame
Editor: Martin Neame

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We are very grateful to Alan Neame (family historian and founding member of the Kent Genealogical Society) who for thirty years researched into our family history. He was ably assisted by the significant collaboration of Joyce Gibson nee Neame. It is really thanks to Alan that any of us are aware of the others' existence. Alan travelled the world meeting people and recording their data for the benefit of all of us.