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Following the Roman occupation, the first King of Kent was Gwrangon or Gourong (Viceroy), who, was subject to the High King Vortigern.
Vortigern came to power c 426, he was a local Welsh King but ruled large parts of England including Kent. Vortigern was not his name, but a description meaning Overking or tyrant. His name was possibly Vitalinus.
The Kingdom of Kent was under constant attack at this time, the Picts and Scots increased their raids and in 428, Vortigern invited two Jutish (usually referred to as Saxons) leaders to help defend Britain.
Hengist (or Hengest) and Horsa, the chieftains of the Jutes, arrived and Vorigern received them as friends. He gave them, Ruim as the Celts called it, which in their own language was Thanet, in return for their military services protecting that part of the coast. Vorigern also promised to supply them with clothing and provisions, on condition they would fight against his enemies.
The Saxons did repel attacks but also told their countrymen of the opportunities available in Britain. Hengistís followers increased in number, and when they claimed a supply of provisions and clothing the locals Britons became incapable of fulfilling their promise.
The Council decided to dismiss the Saxons, and told them they were not needed anymore and to return home. On hearing this they made threats to breaking the peace between them, that if the supplies were not provided in sufficient abundance they would break the treaty and plunder the whole island.
Vortigernís power was precarious and Hengist offered to get reinforcements to further assist in his internal battles. Vortigern agreed and Hengistís followers returned with 15 ships and Rowena, Hengistís daughter. Vortigern wanted to marry her and promised Hengist wherever he wanted in return. Hengist asked for Ceint, or Canturguoralen in their language. This gift was made without the knowledge of the King of Kent, who was abandoned to their control. Hengist established himself at Canterbury.
Hengist suggests to Vortigern that he could send for his son and his brother (or cousin), who would fight against the Scots, in exchange for the countries in the north by the wall. Vortigern agrees and another 40 ships arrive led by Hengistís son Octa and his brother Ebissa.
Hengist already held East Kent and Canterbury, he is now sufficiently confident to fulfil his threats. He took the opportunity to complain again about the provisions and in c442, the Saxons rebelled. They plundered all the neighbouring cities and country, reports said from the eastern to the western sea. The Britons begged assistance from Gaul, but none came.
After the initial shock of the rebellion, the British fought back. The war was a long drawn out affair, with major battles being recorded: c 452 when Hengist and Horsa failed to capture London. A major British triumph was lead by Vortimer, a son of Vortigern, when he drove the Saxons to the Roman fort of Rutupiae, (Richborough), and back across the Wansum channel to Thanet. Soon after this victory, Vortimer died. c455, the battle of Agaelesthrep, or Set Thirgabail, depending on which side you were on, now known as Aylesford. This was where both Horsa and Categirn, another of Vortigernís sons were killed. And finally, c456 the battle at Crecganford, (Crayford), on the river Darent when the Britons left Kent.
Hengist offered peace to Vortigern, who accepted and they were allies again c 455. The Council was called to confirm the treaty. Hengist prepared entertainment under pretence of ratifying treaty. 300 nobles, military officers and elders were invited with equal number of Saxons. Each Saxon concealed a knife under his feet and had instructions to mix with the Britons and when they were sufficiently inebriated, to draw the knife and kill the man next to them.