Sunday, 13 September 2009

A history of the Anglo-Saxons in Kent

449 Hengist and Horsa invited by Vortigern landed at WIPPIDSFLEET (Ebbes fleet) with three ships. They fought against the Picts and had victories whenever they met them. They then sent to the Angles for a larger force. The Angles came in such numbers that their homeland of Angeln was left empty. Also came the Jutes and Saxons.
NENNIUS wrote. Vortigern received them as friends, and delivered up to them the island which is in their language called Thanet, and, by the Britons, Ruym.........After the Saxons had continued some time in the island of Thanet, Vortigern promised to supply them with clothing and provision, on condition they would engage to fight against the enemies of his country. But the barbarians having greatly increased in number, the Britons became incapable of fulfilling their engagement; and when the Saxons, according to the promise they had received, claimed a supply of provisions and clothing, the Britons replied, "Your number is increased; your assistance is now unnecessary; you may, therefore, return home, for we can no longer support you;" and hereupon they began to devise means of breaking the peace between them.
But Hengist, in whom united craft and penetration, perceiving he had to act with an ignorant king, and a fluctuating people, incapable of opposing much resistance, replied to Vortigern, "We are, indeed, few in number; but, if you will give us leave, we will send to our country for an additional number of forces, with whom we will fight for you and your subjects." Vortigern assenting to this proposal, messengers were despatched to Scythia, where selecting a number of warlike troops, they returned with sixteen vessels, bringing with them the beautiful daughter of Hengist. And now the Saxon chief prepared an entertainment, to which he invited the king, his officers, and Ceretic, his interpreter, having previously enjoined his daughter to serve them so profusely with wine and ale, that they might soon become intoxicated. This plan succeeded; and Vortigern, at the instigation of the devil, and enamoured with the beauty of the damsel, demanded her, through the medium of his interpreter, of the father, promising to give for her whatever he should ask. Then Hengist, who had already consulted with the elders who attended him of the Oghgul race, demanded for his daughter the province, called in English Centland, in British, Ceint, (Kent.). This cession was made without the knowledge of the king, Guoyrancgonus who then reigned in Kent, and who experienced no inconsiderable share of grief, from seeing his kingdom thus clandestinely, fraudulently, and imprudently resigned to foreigners. Thus the maid was delivered up to the king, who slept with her, and loved her exceedingly.
Hengist, after this, said to Vortigern, "I will be to you both a father and an adviser; despise not my counsels, and you shall have no reason to fear being conquered by any man or any nation whatever; for the people of my country are strong, warlike, and robust: if you approve, I will send for my son and his brother, both valiant men who at my invitation will fight against the Scots, and you can give them the countries in the north, near the wall called "Gual." The incautious sovereign having assented to this, Octa and Ebusa arrived with forty ships. In these they sailed round the country of the Picts, laid waste the Orkneys, and took possession of many regions, even to the Pictish confines.
At length Vortimer, the son of Vortigern, valiantly fought against Hengist, Horsa, and his people; drove them to the isle of Thanct, and thrice enclosed them with it, and beset them on the western side. The Saxons now despatched deputies to Germany to solicit large reinforcements, and an additional number of ships: having obtained these, they fought against the kings and princes of Britain, and sometimes extended their boundaries by victory, and sometimes were conquered and driven back.
Four times did Vortimer valorously encounter the enemy; the first has been mentioned, the second was upon the river Darent, (this is possibly the battle at CRECGANFORD in

456 mentioned in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles as the River Cray is a tributary of the Darent) the third at the Ford, in their language called Epsford, though in ours Set thirgabail, there Horsa fell, and Catigern, the son of Vortigern; the fourth battle he fought, was near the stone on the shore of the Gallic sea, where the Saxons being defeated, fled to their ships.
455 Hengest and Horsa fought against Vortigern at AEGELSTHREP (Aylesford) and in this battle Horsa was slain.

456 Hengest and his son AEsc slew four troops of Britons at CRECGANFORD (Crayford)
After a short interval Vortimer died; before his decease, anxious for the future prosperity of his country, he charged his friends to inter his body at the entrance of the Saxon port, viz. Upon the rock where the Saxons first landed; "for though," said he, "they may inhabit other parts of Britain, yet if you follow my commands, they will never remain in this island." They imprudently disobeyed this last injunction, and neglected to bury him where he had appointed.
After this the barbarians became firmly incorporated, and were assisted by foreign pagans; for Vortigern was their friend, on account of the daughter of Hengist, whom he so much loved, that no one durst fight against him__in the meantime they soothed the imprudent king, and whilst practicing every appearance of fondness were plotting with his enemies. And let him that reads understand, that the Saxons were victorious, and ruled Britain, not from their superior prowess, but on account of the great sins of the Britons: God so permitting it.
After the death of Vortimer, Hengist being strengthened by new accessions, collected his ships, and calling his leaders together, consulted by what stratagem they might overcome Vortigern and his army; with insidious intention they sent messengers to the king, with offers of peace and perpetual friendship; unsuspicious of treachery, the monarch, after advising with his elders, accepted the proposals.
Hengist, under pretence of ratifying the treaty, prepared an entertainment, to which he invited the king, the nobles, and military officers, in number about three hundred; speciously concealing his wicked intention, he ordered three hungred Saxons to conceal each a knife under his feet, and to mix with the Britons; "and when,"said he, "they are sufficiently inebriated, I cry out, ''Nimed eure Saxes,''then let each draw his knife, and kill his man; but spare the king on account of his marriage with my daughter, for it is better that he should be ransomed than killed."
The king with his company, appeared at the feast; and mixing with the Saxons, who, whilst they spoke peace with their tongues, cheerished treachery in their hearts, each man was placed next his enemy.
After they had eaten and drunk, and were much intoxicated, Hengist suddenly vociferated, "Nimed eure Saxes!" and instantly his adherents drew their knives, and rushing upon the Britons, each slew him that sat next to him, and there was slain three hundred of the nobles of Vortigern.. The king being a captive, purchased his redemption, by delivering up the three provinces of East, South, and Middle Sex, besides other districts at the option of his betrayers
457 Hengest and AEsc fought the Britons again at Crecganford and slew 4000 men. The Britons left Kent and fled to London.

465 Hengest and AEsc fought the Welsh at Wippedsfleet and there slew 12 Welsh ealdormen.

473 Hengest and AEsc fought the Britons and took much plunder and spoils,

488 AEsc obtains the kingdom of Kent and ruled for 24 years.

490’s Gildas mentions a battle at a place called MONS BADICUS (Badon Hill) in which a victorious British army defeated the invading Saxons so soundly that no Anglo Saxon advancement occurred for nearly 50 years.
This sudden halt can be verified through the lack of archaeology finds for 6th century Anglo Saxon expansion and a reversal of settlers who left Britain for Gaul.Like many battle sites this is another unknown location, though my favourite is the Iron age fort of Solsbury hill near Bath, Bath was known to the Saxons as Baðon or Baðanceaster. It is obviously situated amongst many hills, any one of which could have been the location of the battle. The word "bath" is Germanic but "Badon" is a Celtic name. Not only is Bath precisely where the otherwise dubious Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us that the fictional Arthur fought his most celebrated battle, but Nennius mentions the 'Baths of Badon' in a closing summary of British marvels. (Historia Brittonum) These are almost certainly the old Roman baths in the city of Bath. But you may prefer the evidence for other sites.
560 This year Ethelbert son of Eormanric succeeded to the kingdom of Kent, he was the first English King to become a Christian.

616 Ethelbert died and his son Eadbald succeeded him. Eadbald abandoned Christianity and became a ‘heathen’. He took his fathers widow as his wife.

640 King Eadbald died and his son Earconbert became king.

664 King Earconbert dies and his son Ecgbert succeeds him.

686 West Saxon King Caedwalla and his brother Mul laid waste to Kent and Wight.

687 Mul and twelve other men are burned in Kent, his brother Caedwalla lays waste to Kent in revenge. (For burning Mul, The Kentish King Wihtred had to pay King Ina of Wessex £30’000 WERGELD in 694).

694 Wihtred succeeds to the Kingdom of Kent.

725 king Wihtred dies and he is succeeded by his son Eadbert

748 King Eadbert dies and is succeeded by his brother Ethelbert

762 King Ethelbert dies.

776 King Offa of Mercia fights the Kentishmen at Otford in Kent

785 Possible date King Offa of Mercia has authority over Kent

796 King Offa dies and Eadbert Praen returns from exile to become king of Kent

798 King Cynewulf of Mercia retakes Kent and capturing King Eadbert Praen has his eyes pricked out and his hands cut off. He makes his brother Cuthred King of Kent.

807 King Cuthred of Kent dies

825 King Egbert of the West Saxons and King Bernwulf of Mercia fought a battle at Wilton and Egbert was victorious. He then sent his son Ethelwulf and ealdorman Wulfherd with part of his army into Kent. The king of Kent Baldred fled across the Thames and Ethelwulf ruled Kent for his father.

839 On the death of his father, King Egbert of Wessex Ethelwulf became king of Wessex. He made his son Athelstan king of Kent.

841 A Danish army killed many in Kent and southern England

851 King Athelstan and ealdorman Elchere fought with the Danes at SANDWICH and captured nine ships before dispersing the rest. The Danes fled to Thanet where they stayed throughout the winter months.

853 Ealdorman Elchere and Ealdorman Huda of Surry join forces to attack the Danish army on Thanet. They get the victory but many are slain or drown on both sides, both ealdormen are also slain.

855 King Ethelwulf of Wessex dies, King Athelstan is dead or also dies and his brothers Ethelbald and Ethelbert shares the kingdom. Ethelbert is given Kent Essex and Surry.

860 King Ethelbald dies and Ethelbert takes the whole kingdom. From this time on Kent has no purely Kentish Kings instead the Kings of Wessex rule the Kingdom of Kent. Ethelbert being the first.

865 The Danish raiders led by Ragnar Lodbrok land an army on Thanet and King Ethelbert pays Ragnar DANEGELD for peace but during the night the Danes moved into Kent and ravaged much of eastern Kent. Afterwards Ragnar left Kent and moved in amongst the East Angles in 866. Again Danegeld is paid to him and the following year Ragnar moves to Northumbria.

866 Ethelred the brother of Ethelbert becomes king of Wessex (and of Kent)

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