Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia



Thanet, also known as the Isle of Thanet, is a historic island located in the county of Kent in southeastern England. Thanet was originally an island, situated between the estuary of the River Thames to the north and the River Stour to the south. It is now connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land.

Thanet was occupied by Hengist’s Saxon forces during the times of King Vortigern. When the Saxons invaded England, King Vortigern’s son, Vortimer, drove them back to Thanet and defeated many of them in subsequent battles. From here, they fled back to Europe to regroup.

In Arthur’s reign, Cheldric and the Saxons fled to Thanet after suffering a crushing defeat at the hand of Cador of Cornwall.

Thanet | 0 to 9th century AD

Roman Period | 1st – 5th century
During the Roman period, Thanet was an island, separated from the mainland by the Wantsum Channel, which is no longer in existence. The Romans recognized the strategic importance of Thanet as a landing point and built a fort at Richborough (Rutupiae), located on the southern coast of Thanet, to defend against potential invasions. This fort served as a gateway to Roman Britain. Thanet had Roman settlements and was likely used as a transit point for travelers and trade between Britain and the continent.

Early Medieval Period | 5th – 9th century
Within the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the early fifth century, the island of Thanet became home to Anglo-Saxon and Jutish settlers. Thanet, along with other parts of Kent, played a significant role in the establishment of the Kingdom of Kent, which was one of the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in England.

The Isle of Thanet is traditionally associated with the landing of the Jutish chieftain Hengist and his brother Horsa in 449 AD. This event is considered an important moment in the Anglo-Saxon settlement of England. Thanet was home to a number o early Anglo-Saxon settlements and curches, and it was a center of early Christianity in the region.

Viking Age | 8th – 9th centuries
During the Viking Age, Thanet and the wider Kentish coast became vulnerable to Viking raids and invasions. The Vikings targeted coastal settlements, including those on the Isle of Thanet, in their quest for plunder.

Historia Brittonum | Probably Nennius, early 9th century
Historia Regum Britanniae | Geoffrey of Monmouth, c. 1138
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155