Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Aethelberht of Kent

Æthelberht, Æthelbert, Aethelberht, Aethelbert, Ethelbert

Born c. 550 and king of Kent from about 558 or 560 until his death on February 24th 616.

Bede writes about Aethelberht’s descent:

Ethelbert was son of Irminric, son of Octa, and after his grandfather Oeric, surnamed Oisc, the kings of the Kentish folk are commonly known as Oiscings. The father of Oeric was Hengist.

Bede lists him as the third king to hold imperium over other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, from the late ninth century, he is referred to as a bretwalda, or “Britain-ruler.”

Around 580 he married a Christian princess, Bertha, whos father was Charibert I, king of the Franks. Aethelbert retained her pagan beliefs, but he allowed her to restore an ancient Christian church to the east of Canterbury. The church, Saint Martin, claims to be the oldest Christian church in England. He was the first English king to convert to Christianity.

Ecclesiastical History of the English People | Bede, 731