Kent is a named region of Britain the name, in surviving texts, first appearing in Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars as Cantium, inhabited by the Cantiaci. The name, Kent is derived from the Brythonic word cantus which means ‘rim’ or ‘border’, describing the eastern part of modern Kent as a border land or coastal district.
According to Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae, Hengist and Horsa first landed in Kent when King Vortigern just happened to be in the city of Dorobernia (Canterbury). Later Vortigern bestowed rulership over Kent on Hengist in return for Hengist giving Vortigern Hengist’s daughter Renwein to become his wife. The sub-king of Kent, Guoyrancgon, to his later anger, was not told that he had been replaced.
When the Saxons rebelled, all accounts given of battles between Saxon and Briton place them in Kent. Geoffrey’s account and the accounts of others that follow him, claim that the Saxons, at that point were driven from Britain. But on Hengist’s return, after the treacherous slaying of the British leaders, Hengist was given back Kent and much more in return for saving Vortigern’s life.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle has the entry:
488 [A]. Here Æsc succeeded to the kingdom and was king of the Kentish-men twenty-four winters.
Some Name VariationsEdit
LATIN: Cantum; FRENCH: Kant, Kent; ENGLISH: Kent, Kentt, Kente; MALORY: Kente; WELSH: Keynt, Keint, Kent.