History Of Kent

There are two halves to Kent: rural and urban. The history of Kent.


Kent is a county in England that has been around since the 10th century. The county has a rich history and many traditions that have been passed down for generations. One of these traditions is Gavelkind, which is a system where the estate and property are distributed with their descendants. The Kent Family History Society is a society that celebrates the history and traditions of Kent, and one of its symbols is the Invicta horse. The Invicta horse is the white horse of Kent, and it is a reminder that Kent wasn’t defeated at Hastings on 14 October 1066.

history of kent

Where it all began:

The area is known as Kent. It takes its name from a Celtic tribe that occupied South East England, beginning at the Thames and extending south to the coast. The Cantii were a tribe that inhabited the British Isles during Roman times. They lived in what is now known as Kent and Surrey and Sussex, Greater London, and part of Berkshire. The Romans referred to them as the Cantii or the Cantii, likewise known as the Cantiaci, and the County of Cantium. According to Julius

In 55 BC, Julius Caesar landed at Deal and was defeated by the high tide range that flooded his troops’ ships. Then again, in 54 BC, Julius Caesar returned with his cavalry and succeeded in a significant engagement in Canterbury, which is supposed to be near the Bigbury Iron Age. Finally, after a brief campaign in England under Emperor Claudius, Julius Caesar left our shores.

The ancient Britons didn’t have a written history, so we don’t know what they might have been called Canterbury. However, it could be an elaboration that was a variant of Durovernum, which is the name that the Romans used. This linguistic term has roots that go back to Iron-Age tribes that inhabited the British Isles before the Roman invasion. Duro roughly is a translation of fortified enclosure. vernum means marshy crossing, with Alders. The first evidence of a term for Canterbury was found in early 2nd-century geography known as the Antoine Itinerary. At that time, the Roman called the city Durovernum CantiacorumCantiacorum refers to the fact that Cantiacorum means that it is one of the Civitas Capital. In this area, leaders were trusted to lead their groups of people with the aid of Roman advisors. Canterbury was the principal capital of the tribal in Cantium (Kent) which included an additional administrative area located in Rochester where the Romans designated: Durobrivae CantiacorumDurobrivae, which means fortified crossing that was accompanied by a bridge.

Man or Maid of Kent v Kentish Man or Maid

Kent’s most important river is Medway, which divides the county roughly to the West and East. Its source is in High Weald Sussex. Its mouth is located in the Thames estuary. Hasted has written in the comprehensive piece The Historical & Topographical Survey of Kent that the early Britons identified”the Medway Vaga (travel) to which the Saxons were able to add Med (middle). If you’re born on the eastern side of the Medway, you could be referred to as Man of Kent. If you happen to be delivered to the west side, you’re it is a Kentish Man. The female equivalent of Maids is also known as Kentish Maids. Some believe it was due to Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, who were known as Canterbury Cantawarburgh. The Anglo Saxons were a part of West Kent, while the Jutes established themselves East from the Medway.

Other versions, such as this poem Men from Kent and Kentish Men, suggests that it was written before the time of the Norman invasion when people from the Men of Kent were unable to allow the Conqueror traverse East Kent unless they were given the rights, privileges, and rights they had. The story may be true in the sense that Kent was one of the few English counties to abide by the laws of inheritance of Gavelkind following the conquer.

Norman and later

After winning the Battle of Hastings, the Normans began building work, with cathedrals and castles appearing all over their newly conquered land. Canterbury was the first to have a Norman Cathedral and Castle, and Rochester a close second. However, while numerous courts were constructed in Britain, each county was home to only one church… For Kent and Kent is one of the counties in Britain with two cathedrals, dividing it into two separate dioceses.

In the Middle Ages, Canterbury was made a charter county corporation. i.e., an area with the right to function as an official county. A town that has the right to be governed as one. City and Borough of Canterbury, a part of the villages around it, were run independently by Kent County Kent 1471 between 1471 and 1972. Therefore, the county had two assizes in Canterbury and Maidstone, and both have a County Court that is still in operation.

Invicta Unconquered

There are many versions of the legend. The story was written in a chronicle of the 13th century by Thomas Sprot, a monk of St. Augustine’s Abbey Canterbury. Sprot recounts the gathering in Swanscombe in those who were the men from East Kent with their Saxon Archbishop Stigand from Canterbury. They were waiting for King William I, the Conqueror who was making his first trip through Kent after fighting at Hastings in the Battle of Hastings and his coronation at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066.

When he was on his way to Dover to embark on a ship to his land in Normandy, the King was stopped from crossing into the territories in East Kent by a contingent of the Men of Kent. They held either a branch (treaty, sword, or war) and told William to pick. The legend says that William picked the department and then decided that the Kent people who lived in Kent, both West or East Kent, could keep most of their certain rights and customs they accepted Gavelkind as their King. It is believed that this is the reason why the tradition of Gavelkind was maintained in Kent for centuries, even after it was wiped out of other regions of England.


Gavelkind (in the simplest terms) was a system in which the estate and property were distributed with their descendants. It didn’t wholly bar women from primogeniture. In this case, assets are usually passed to the son with the highest esteem or closest male family member. Primogeniture, in many instances, prevented even a closely-related female from inheriting. At the same time, a male relative was located, regardless of the distance of his claim as well as the proximity of hers! However, there are instances of women inheriting titles, lands, and wealth. For example, Joan was the fair maid of Kent (wife of the Black Prince) was the Countess from Kent in suo jure (in her own right). Because her brother did not have male relatives at his death, Joan took everything.

Gavelkind was not repealed before The Law of Property Act 1925.

The Invicta horse

The symbol of Kent, as well as of the Kent Family History Society, usually, it’s displayed against a red background. However, in 2017, Kent FHS reverted to the traditional design in the course of a branding exercise. The horse’s name is affectionately derived from Invicta, which means undefeated. It is a reminder that Kent wasn’t defeated at Hastings on 14 October 1066.

Kent Now

Following the 1972 reorganization of the counties, Canterbury was placed under the County administration. The KCC then administered all of the counties. However, the county’s merger was only to endure less than thirty years. In 1998, the Medway Unitary Authority was formed out of Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, and Strood, and the county was divided into two.

Kent archives

Family historians need to know that a few Kent archives are housed within the county archives. It is best to confirm which library you wish to visit. According to the subject matter and the year, they may be located in: Canterbury, Bexley, Maidstone, Strood, Bromley, or the London Archives at Clerkenwell.

The County of Kent is a unique place in the UK because it has two assizes, Canterbury and Maidstone. Both have county courts still operating there. The legend about King William I’s visit to Swanscombe when he was on his way to Dover to embark on a ship to his land in Normandy is an interesting one that may be true but also could be based off folklore. It seems plausible that this decision would grant them Gavelkind rights for centuries after it was wiped out from other areas of England. This system involves distribution with descendants so assets are usually passed onto sons or close male family members. Gavelkind was not repealed before The Law of Property Act 1925. Invicta, the symbol of Kent, is used as a brand by Kent FHS in 2017 and it’s taken from the name of the undefeated legend that Kent wasn’t defeated at Hastings on 14 October 1066. So what will you be doing in kent?

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