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.
|Saxon Coin Main Menu|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
|Back to previous page|