The Anglo-Saxon settlement stories for Kent, Sussex and
Wessex have too much in common to ring entirely true. Nevertheless, a wholesale
rejection of them might still be unwise.
According to Gildas the British invited the Germanic tribes
in to help them with raiders from the North. It has long been assumed that
these were Picts but Kent is not an obvious place from which to confront Picts.
So, was the ‘northern nation’ actually the Catuvellauni? Quoit brooches with
incorporated Germanic designs suggest co-operation rather than confrontation.
Stylistically mixed artefacts suggest an ethnically diverse population.
Gildas’ focus may well indicate that in the mid fifth
century there was a coup d’état there. Although the Cantwara was a
successor state to that of the Cantiaci, there was also a strong Frankish
influence. One of the early kings, Irmenric, seems to have had a Frankish name
and Æðelberht married a Frankish princess…
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