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In 690, Wihtred, the son of Egbert became king. According to William of Malmesbury, Wihtred was chosen king by the people “having repressed malevolence of his countrymen” and purchased peace from his enemies. The Anglo Saxon Chronicles state there were two kings in Kent, Wihtred and Webherd, who reigned over the West Kent region. The reference to purchasing peace from his enemies probably relates to Wessex. First Cedwalla continued to wage war and then in 694, King Ina threatened to invade. He was offered compensation for the death of Mul. The amount of compensation varies depending on the source, the figure 30,000 is always consistent, however whether it was marks of gold, pence (which could mean silver pence) or pounds is debatable. King Wihtred is particularly remembered for calling the council at Bapchild, where he addressed those concerned with the church in Kent. He decreed that all the minsters and churches, given by his predecessors, should remain for evermore the church’s property and that no layman should have the right to possess any church or anything that belonged to the church. He went on to say that Kings should appoint earls, aldermen, sheriffs, and judges; but the archbishop should appoint bishops, and abbots, abbesses, priests, and deacons. He made some additions to the laws of Aethelbert regarding the swearing of oaths, follow this external link to the Medieval Sourcebook for the details. Wihtred married Cynegth of Kent by whom he had two sons: Egbert and Ethelbert. He also married Werberga of Kent by whom he had another son, Alric. The date of 725 has been given for Werberga’s death, so it is assumed that Cynegth was his first wife. Wihtred died on 23rd April 725 after a reign of 32 winters or 33 years. The kingdom was divided between his three sons.

Aethelbert II

In 725, all three of Wihtred’s son succeed him to the throne of Kent. Aethelbert born c732 was the second son but he is given the responsibility of being Overking. King Eadbert is in West Kent and Alric’s realm is not specified and he dies soon after. Both his brothers predecease him and there is mention of another King who reigns jointly with Aethelbert. There is not much information about Aethelbert during his reign, except that he caused the burning of Canterbury, why or how is not mentioned. There are two dates given for his death, 760 and 762.


The first we hear of Eanmund is in 759, when he is reported to be king of West Kent. On the death of Aethelbert II, he becomes King of Kent, from762. His reign is brief, for in 764, it is brought to an end by King Offa imposing Mercian overlordship on kingdom.

End of the Kentish royal line

Three dates are given for the end of the Kentish royal line, 760, which may be correct if we take Aethelbert’s death to be 760, and this may also reveal why Eanmund was not shown to be a relative. The next date given is 762, this could be correct if we take Aethelbert’s death to be 762 etc. The final date is 764, which of course can also be correct, if we accept Eanmund’s reign to end in 764. We would also need to consider whether he was of royal blood or not, or whether the reference really means the end of an independent Kentish ruler. King Offa Mercia asserts his supremacy over Kent and the kingdom is divided between several Kings.

Following the end of the Kentish royal line, Mercia establishes it’s supremacy over the kingdom. From the year 764 to c823/4 Kent is subject to Mercia. King Offa appoints sub kings to oversee the kingdom, however there are three periods of direct Mercian rule, firstly by Offa in 772 to 776 and again in 785 to 796. Then later in 807 to 823, by Coenwulf and then Coelwulf.