Kent History


Kent has been occupied since the Lower Palaeolithic times. During the Neolithic times the Medway megaliths were built and there is a large amount of Bronze age finds in excavations. Although now two miles from the sea, Richborough Castle was the Romans' main entry point when they invaded Britain in circa AD 43. 

Following the invasion of Britain by William of Normandy the people of Kent adopted the motto Invicta meaning undefeated and claiming that they had frightened the Normans away, as they merely used Kent to reach London. Once London was reached, the Normans ignored most of East Kent, due to the peasants attacking them at every turn. 

During the mediaeval period, Kent produced several rebellions including the Peasants' Revolt led by Wat Tyler and later, Jack Cade's rebellion of 1450. Canterbury became a great pilgrimage site following the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, who was eventually canonised in 1246. Kent also played a significant role in the English Civil War around 1648.

By the reign of Elizabeth I (1558–1603) a small dockyard had been established at Chatham. The 18th Century was dominated with wars with France and the Medway became the prime position to base a fleet. Chatham Dockyard built over 400 naval ships including HMS Victory and 57 submarines, while also refitting ships. The keel for HMS Victory was laid at Chatham on 23 July 1759. During World War II, Chatham refitted 1,360 warships including HMS Ajax.

During World War II Doodlebugs were used by German planes, around 2,500 fell on the capital - but almost the same number fell in Kent, and the area became known as Doodlebug Alley