Anglo-Saxon 'Kings of Kent' Pennies

The origins of Kent lie in the Late Roman period when Germanic military personnel (Lśti) were recruited to act as coastguards and border-patrols along the Channel coast in order to free the regular Roman troops for more onerous operations. The boundaries of the kingdom corresponded in part to the pre-Roman tribal lands of the Cantiaci. The Cantware 'men of Kent' became very wealthy through exploiting their proximity to the Merovingian and Frisian lands, controlling trade and entering into diplomatic relationships with continental rulers. The Merovingian Franks regarded Kent as a dependant sub-kingdom of their realm, and King Athelberht married into the Frankish royal family. This close linkage of Kent to the Franks enabled new ideas such as coinage and Christianity to find fertile soil in the kingdom in which to grow. Kentish independence was soon lost as both Wessex and Mercia came to dominate the kingdom at various times. Kentish pennies are in high demand due to their rarity - be sure to check this page regularly.

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Archbishop Plegmund 'Diarwald' DORO Anglo-Saxon Penny 023871

Excessively Rare Archbishop Plegmund 'Diarwald' DORO Anglo-Saxon Penny
Silver, 0.80 grams, 17.35 mm. 890-923 AD, Canterbury mint, Class 1. Obverse: DO RO in two lines to centre with +PLEGMVND ARCHIEP legend. Reverse: moneyer name DIAIVE LDMO in two lines for Dirwald. S. 898; N. 254; see EMC 2006.0076 (this coin); reported as found in Bedfordshire. Very fine but fragment, the only example for this moneyer recorded in EMC. Ex Kevin McKay collection, Canada.

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Archbishop Plegmund 'Diarwald' DORO Anglo-Saxon Penny 023871


King Baldred (823 - 825 AD)
Baldred was the king of the Kentishmen, until 825 A.D., when he was expelled by King ∆thelwulf, son of King Ecgberht of Wessex, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, "because formerly they had been wrongly forced away from their allegiance to his kinsmen". As the Chronicle is essentialy a West Saxon (wessex) political document, this may be taken to mean that Wessex saw Kent as part of its natural domain in southern England, and that Baldred represented some rival claim to authority in the kingdom. If so, then it seems likely that Baldred had been put on the throne of Kent as an under-king by Mercia, Wessex's great rival, and that he was a kinsman of the contemporary King Beornwulf. The alliteration on B- strengthens this.

SP 011421

Excessively Rare/Unique King Baldred 'Canterbury Mint' Penny
Silver, 0.84 grams; 19.07 mm. Circa 823-825 A.D. Obverse: +bELDRED REX, around cross in circle of pellets. Reverse: +SIGEZTEF, Sigestaef at Canterbury, around cross in circle of pellets. Recorded with the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge University as EMC 2003.0184. N 213 variant. Edge nibbles, otherwise good very fine and excessively rare. Found in Chiseldon, nr. Swindon, 2003. Only two other coins of this moneyer recorded with the Early Medieval Coin Corpus.

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SP 011421


King Cuthred (798 - 807 AD)

Cuthred was a brother of Coenwulf, King of Mercia. Kent seceded from Mercian dominance under King Eadberht Prśn, who was killed in battle in 798 by King Coelwulf of Mercia. Subsequently, Cuthred was declared king although Coelred would have regarded hi as a subregulus or 'under-king', ruling Kent as a local governor with Coelwulf's authority to back him up. Cuthred's reign is marked by two great political events, one being the dissolution of the Mercian archbishopric of Lichfield at the Council of Clofesho on October 12, 803: with Kent now firmly in Mercian hands, the need for a Midlands-based archiepiscopate fell away and the parvenue Lichfield archbishopric was removed so that Canterbury's authority once more extended into the Midlands. The other major development was the commencement of outright raiding by Danish (Viking) seamen, probably as a reaction to Godfred's attempt to unify Denmark and remove any threats to his authority.

SP 003336

UNIQUE Cuthred 'Bone' Penny
Silver, 1.26 grams; 19.03 mm. His non portrait penny is even rarer than his portrait penny, circa A.D. 798-807. +CVDRED REX, around a small inner circle with a small cross and pellets in angles. R. Moneyer's name across the field in two curved lines, with a Unique Bone Ornamentation through the centre. SEBERHT, Canterbury mint, moneyer: Segeberht. The reverse has also a cross of five pellets before the moneyers name, a reversed 'S' and pellets below 'E', 'R' and 'H', with a pellet after 'T'. N 207-210 unique variant; S 876 unique variant. Recorded with the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge University as: EMC 2005.0114. Unknown reverse for this Monarch: no similar coins recorded with the Medieval Coin Corpus (EMC) at the Fitzwilliam Museum and Sylloge of Coins (SCBI) of the British Isles, and only four other non portrait coins of this moneyer. Edge nibble, otherwise extremely fine and previously an unknown Cuthred type. Found Torksey 2004.

A leading expert writes: "A previously unrecorded reverse type for Cuthred, from a reverse die similar to the reverse of a coin of Coenwulf of Mercia (796-821) (BLS Cn.4), but with the initial S of the moneyer's name reversed."

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SP 003336


Archbishops of Canterbury (765 - 914 AD)

Traditionally, the Archbishop of Canterbury is the leading churchman of England, outranking his colleague in York (and the short-lived archbishopric based in Lichfield). The sequence of archiepiscopal office-holders at Canterbury is known from coins and manuscript evidence in an (almost) unbroken sequence from Augustine, the papal legate who brought Christianity to the southern Anglo-Saxons in 597 AD through to the present day. Many of these prelates played an important part in international affairs and were instrumental in implementing royal policy both in Britain and abroad; missionary work in Frisia and Germany was just one of the accomplishments of the early English church.

Click here for a history of the Archbishops of Canterbury.



Wulfred (805 - 832 AD)
Wulfred was a close companion of his predecessor, ∆thelheard, and continued the campaign to divide church from state. King Coenwulf of Mercia is alleged to have appropriated some of Wulfred's estates, and this caused a long-lasting quarrel between them. Wulfred visited Rome at least twice to consult the pope, but there was no reconciliation between king and archbishop. Wulfred issued his own coins, but unlike those of ∆thelheard they do not bear any reference to the king of Mercia in the legend.

Wulfred 'DOROBERNIA' Portrait Penny 017154

Extremely Rare Wulfred 'DOROBERNIA' Portrait Penny
Silver, 1.09 grams, 20.22 mm. Archbishops of Canterbury, Group IV, Anonymous Issue; 822-823 AD. Obverse: facing tonsured bust with +SVVEFNERDMONETA legend for the moneyer Swefnerd. Reverse: inscription in three lines DOROB ERNIAC IVITAS for the city and mint at Canterbury. S. 890; N. 238. See Early Medieval Corpus No 1002.0400 (SCBI 2, 400) for a die duplicate. Extremely fine and as struck with slight chipping to edge and very minor flan distortion.
£1,650.00

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Wulfred 'DOROBERNIA' Portrait Penny 017154


Ceolnoth (833 - 870 AD)
The later career of Ceolnoth can be traced through contemporary records, despite his early life being unknown. He presided over several synods and councils, in conjunction with King Wiglaf of Mercia and the joint-kings of Wessex, Ecgberht and ∆thelwulf. By Ceolnoth's day, the pressure from Viking attacks had affected the quality of monastic life and manuscript output was poor in comparison with earlier periods.

Archbishop Ceolnoth 'Diocese of Canterbury' Penny 009333

Extremely Rare Archbishop Ceolnoth 'Diocese of Canterbury' Penny
Silver, 0.81 grams; 19.23 mm. Group III. Circa 805 - 823 A.D. Obverse: Tonsured bust facing, bust extends to bottom of coin. Reverse: +BIORNmOD MONET, DOROVERNIA C monogram in centre, Biornmod at Canterbury. Recorded with the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge University as: EMC 2008.0144. North 241. Eighty percent complete with a full bust of Ceolnoth and monogram on reverse. Good fine.

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Archbishop Ceolnoth 'Diocese of Canterbury' Penny 009333


Anglo-Saxon Kent - an Outline History

The Kentish coastline formed part of the Litus Saxonicum in Later Roman times, guarded by a chain of maritime fortresses extending from Southampton to Yorkshire. Germanic seafarers and miliary personnel were recruited to act as border-patrols; some may have been prisoners-of-war from Roman campaigns along the Rhine. The territory of Kent was allegedly ceded to a pair of Germanic (Jutish or possibly Anglian) brothers, Hengest and Horsa, because the British rulers could not raise the gold to pay them for their help in expelling the Picts and Irish (Scots). The material culture of Kent is divided along the Medway with the eastern portion closely linked to Francia, and the western sharing more with the East Saxon kingdom north of the Thames. The first securely datable event in the kingdom is the arrival of the Roman missionary, Augustine, with 40 monks in A.D. 597. Kings of Kent who issued Saxon pennies include Heabert (circa 765 A.D.); Ecgberht (circa 780 A.D.); Eadberht Praen (796-798 A.D.); Cuthred (798-807 A.D.); [Anonymous] (circa 822-823 A.D.); Baldred (circa 823-825).



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