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The area has been occupied since the Palaeolithic era.The Medway megaliths were built during the Neolithic era. There is a rich sequence of Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Roman era occupation.
East Kent became a kingdom of the Jutes during the 5th century. In the 11th century, the people of Kent adopted the motto Invicta, meaning "undefeated".
Kent played a major role in several of England's most notable rebellions, including the Peasants' Revolt of 1381.
During World War II, much of the Battle of Britain was fought in the skies over the county.

Kent Timeline - Select a century - or see the expanded view below

  • BC
    400,000 Swanscombe man
    10,000 - 4,000 Mesolithic period
    4,000 - 2,350 Neolithic period
    2,350 - 1500 Early Bronze Age
    1600 -1000 Middle Bronze Age
    1000 - 800 Late Bronze Age
  • 0-10c
    800 - 43AD Iron Age
    57 Julius Caesar conquers Gaul
    55-54 Julius Caesar invades Britain
    55BC-43AD Four kings or war lords dominate Kent
    43 Claudius invades Britain
    First Roman Fort built in Canterbury, abandoned 70
    130 Construction of the Dover lighthouses
    250-270 Construction of forts around the coast
    270-290 Construction of Canterbury town walls
    410 Withdrawal of Roman troops from Britain
    449 Vortigern, according to legend, invites Hengist and Horsa to help protect Kent
    597 Augustine arrives in Kent
    Bishopric established in Canterbury
    604 Diocese of Rochester created
    597-616 Athelbert issues a series of written laws
    685 Hlothhere and Eadric issue written laws
    695 Whited issues a third series of laws
    668 Theodore Archbishop of Canterbury
    760 Death of Aethelberht, last of the Eskings
    774 Rising in Kent against King Offa of Mercia at the battle of Otford.
    797 Danish and Viking invasions begin
    805 Kent again a province of Mercia
    825 Kent rules by Egbert of Wessex
    832 Vikings raid the Isle of Sheppey
    850 Vikings winter in Thanet
    851 King Athelstan defeats the Vikings at Sandwich
    854 Vikings winter on the Isle of Sheppey
    865 Vikings control much of Eastern Kent
    893 Vikings build forts at Appledore and near Milton Regis
  • 11c
    991-1011 Regular Viking raids
    1011 Siege of Canterbury by the Vikings
    1066 William defeats Harold at Hastings William crowned King of England
    1082 Odo, Earl of Kent, arrested, tried, banished.
    1086 Domesday book compiled
    1087 Timber castle at Rochester replaced by stone walls
    1088 Siege of Rochester Castle by William Rufus against Odo
  • 12c
    1127 Rochester Castle keep built
    1143 Cistercian Abbey founded at Boxley
    1147 Benedictine Abbey founded at Faversham
    1155-6 Two charters giving rights to the Cinque Ports
    1178 Austen Canons established at Erith
    1180s Keep and curtain walls built at Dover Castle
  • 13c
    1204 King John loses Normandy
    1215 Siege of Rochester Castle
    1216-17 Siege of Dover Castle
    1217 Sea battle against the French off Sandwich
    1220 Maison Dieu, Dover, built for pilgrims
    1240 Carmelite House founded at Aylesford
    1264 Siege of Rochester castle
    1272 Carmelite Friary established in Sandwich
    1290 Edward I builds a small castle at Sandwich
  • 14c
    1324-6 Coastal flooding
    1335 Statute of Money – pilgrims can only enter England through Dover
    1337 Start of the Hundred Years War
    1348-9 Black Death, possibly half the population of Kent dies
    1351 Statute of Labourers
    1363-80 Re-building of the Canterbury town walls
    1381 Peasants Revolt
    1392 The first stone bridge at Rochester
  • 15c
    1401 The monopoly of Gravesend ferrymen confirmed
    1448 Canterbury granted a charter
    1450 Cade’s Rebellion starts in March
    July rebellion ends
    1452 John Wilkins Rebellion
    1457 Sandwich sacked by the French
  • 16c
    1509 Coronation of Henry VIII
    1539-44 Construction of Henry VIII castles
    1553 Mary crowned
    1554 Wyatt rebellion
    1548 Maidstone granted a charter
    1558 Elizabeth crowned
    1559 Upnor castle built
    1560-80 Walloon refugees settle in sandwich and Canterbury
    1570 Lambarde publishes the first history of Kent
    1574 First book published on hop growing.
    1588 Preparation for a possible Spanish invasion. The Armada
  • 17c
    1608 Major rebuilding of Knole House
    1635 First demand for the ‘Ship Money’
    1640-42 Kent Petitions to Parliament
    1642 Start of the First Civil War
    1643 Royalist Rising in West Kent. Parliamentary County Committee based at Knole House
    1644 County Committee based at Aylesford
    1646 County Committee based at Maidstone
    1647 Christmas cancelled. Riots in Canterbury
    1648 Royalist Rising in Kent. Battle of Maidstone
    1649 Execution of Charles I, January
    1660 The Restoration . King Charles returns and lands at Dover May 25th
    1665 First Royal Navy dockyard laid out at Sheerness
    1667 Dutch fleet in the Medway and Thames
    1698 Shepherd Neame Brewery opened
  • 18c
    1709 First Turnpike Act for Kent
    1730’s Mereworth Castle constructed
    1740 Only four iron furnaces working in the Weald
    1743 Kent beat All-England eleven at cricket
    1758 Chatham Lines defences built
    1778-83 Amherst Fort built
    1785-95 Hasted writes his History of Kent
    1791 Royal Sea bathing School opened
    1796 Boy’s publishes his book on the agriculture of Kent
    1796 Early warning semaphore stations opened across Kent
  • 19c
    1803-15 Western heights constructed at Dover
    1805-9 Construction of the Military Canal
    1805-12 Construction of 74 Martello Towers around the South coast
    1810 Folkestone harbour constructed
    1815 The first steamboats run between London and Margate
    1823 Cobbett publishes on his ride through Kent
    1824 Gravesend to Strood canal opened
    1830 The first Swing Riots
    1830 Canterbury Whitstable Railway line opened May 3rd
    1832 Great Reforn Act
    1834 New Poor Law. Anti Poor Law riots in Kent
    1834 First production of Portland cement at Northfleet
    1835 First conical oasthouse built by John Reid
    1838 Courteney Rising
    1842-3 South Eastern Railway line built
    1844 Maidstone linked to the rail system
    1847 Faversham gunpowder mill explosion, 50 killed
    1857 Medieval stone bridge at Rochester replaced - Kent County Constabulary formed
    1858-63 Establishment of the London, Chatham and Dover rail Company
    1859 & 1864 Drop Redoubt up-dated
    1859 Kent County Cricket Club formed
    1865 First railway specials bring hop pickers to Kent
    1870 Education Act allows school boards to be formed
    1889 Formation of Kent County Council
    1896 Maidstone Typhoid epidemic, 131 die
  • 20c
    1909 Louis Bleroit is the first man to fly over the Channel
    1912 Betteshanger, Chislet, Snowdown and Tilmanstone collieries opened
    1913 County Hall opened in Maidstone
    1913 Kent coalfield opened
    1914 Start of the First World War - HMS Bulwark explodes in the Medway, 800 killed
    1916 Faversham munitions factory explosion, 106 killed
    1918 End of the First World War
    1922 Chalk cross of remembrance carved into the Downs at Lenham
    1939 Start of the Second World War. Preparations for war and first evacuations
    1940 Evacuation of Dunkirk - Battle of Britain
    1942 Canterbury heavily bombed, Baedecker raids
    1944 First V-bombs land in Kent - V2 missiles land in Kent - Second phase of evacuation in Kent
    1945 End of the Second World War. VE & VJ Day celebrations throughout Kent
    1953 Coastal flooding around Kent
    1959 Oil refinery opened on the Isle of Grain
    1960 Opening of the Kingsferry bridge to Sheppey - Royal Dockyard at Sheerness closes
    1963 Current boundaries of Kent established
    1964 First nuclear power station opened at Dungeness
    1981 Royal Navy Dockyard at Chatham closes. Historic Dockyard opened
    1972 Local Government Act changes local government boundaries in Kent
    1973 Britain joins the Common Market
    1976 Dartford Tunnel opened
    1986 Channel Tunnel Treaty
    1989 Last of the Kent collieries closes
    1991 Queen Elizabeth II Thames bridge opened
    1994 Channel Tunnel opened
BC
400,000 Swanscombe man
10,000 - 4,000 Mesolithic period
4,000 - 2,350 Neolithic period
2,350 - 1500 Early Bronze Age
1600 -1000 Middle Bronze Age
1000 - 800 Late Bronze Age
Placeholder
11C
991-1011 Regular Viking raids
1011 Siege of Canterbury by the Vikings
1066 William defeats Harold at Hastings William crowned King of England
1082 Odo, Earl of Kent, arrested, tried, banished.
1086 Domesday book compiled
1087 Timber castle at Rochester replaced by stone walls
1088 Siege of Rochester Castle by William Rufus against Odo
Placeholder
13C
1204 King John loses Normandy
1215 Siege of Rochester Castle
1216-17 Siege of Dover Castle
1217 Sea battle against the French off Sandwich
1220 Maison Dieu, Dover, built for pilgrims
1240 Carmelite House founded at Aylesford
1264 Siege of Rochester castle
1272 Carmelite Friary established in Sandwich
1290 Edward I builds a small castle at Sandwich
Placeholder
15C
1401 The monopoly of Gravesend ferrymen confirmed
1448 Canterbury granted a charter
1450 Cade’s Rebellion starts in March
July rebellion ends
1452 John Wilkins Rebellion
1457 Sandwich sacked by the French
Placeholder
17C
1608 Major rebuilding of Knole House
1635 First demand for the ‘Ship Money’
1640-42 Kent Petitions to Parliament
1642 Start of the First Civil War
1643 Royalist Rising in West Kent. Parliamentary County Committee based at Knole House
1644 County Committee based at Aylesford
1646 County Committee based at Maidstone
1647 Christmas cancelled. Riots in Canterbury
1648 Royalist Rising in Kent. Battle of Maidstone
1649 Execution of Charles I, January
1660 The Restoration . King Charles returns and lands at Dover May 25th
1665 First Royal Navy dockyard laid out at Sheerness
1667 Dutch fleet in the Medway and Thames
1698 Shepherd Neame Brewery opened
Placeholder
19C
1803-15 Western heights constructed at Dover
1805-9 Construction of the Military Canal
1805-12 Construction of 74 Martello Towers around the South coast
1810 Folkestone harbour constructed
1815 The first steamboats run between London and Margate
1823 Cobbett publishes on his ride through Kent
1824 Gravesend to Strood canal opened
1830 The first Swing Riots
1830 Canterbury Whitstable Railway line opened May 3rd
1832 Great Reforn Act
1834 New Poor Law. Anti Poor Law riots in Kent
1834 First production of Portland cement at Northfleet
1835 First conical oasthouse built by John Reid
1838 Courteney Rising
1842-3 South Eastern Railway line built
1844 Maidstone linked to the rail system
1847 Faversham gunpowder mill explosion, 50 killed
1857 Medieval stone bridge at Rochester replaced - Kent County Constabulary formed
1858-63 Establishment of the London, Chatham and Dover rail Company
1859 & 1864 Drop Redoubt up-dated
1859 Kent County Cricket Club formed
1865 First railway specials bring hop pickers to Kent
1870 Education Act allows school boards to be formed
1889 Formation of Kent County Council
1896 Maidstone Typhoid epidemic, 131 die
Placeholder
Placeholder
0-10C
800 - 43AD Iron Age
57 Julius Caesar conquers Gaul
55-54 Julius Caesar invades Britain
55BC-43AD Four kings or war lords dominate Kent
43 Claudius invades Britain
First Roman Fort built in Canterbury, abandoned 70
130 Construction of the Dover lighthouses
250-270 Construction of forts around the coast
270-290 Construction of Canterbury town walls
410 Withdrawal of Roman troops from Britain
449 Vortigern, according to legend, invites Hengist and Horsa to help protect Kent
597 Augustine arrives in Kent
Bishopric established in Canterbury
604 Diocese of Rochester created
597-616 Athelbert issues a series of written laws
685 Hlothhere and Eadric issue written laws
695 Whited issues a third series of laws
668 Theodore Archbishop of Canterbury
760 Death of Aethelberht, last of the Eskings
774 Rising in Kent against King Offa of Mercia at the battle of Otford.
797 Danish and Viking invasions begin
805 Kent again a province of Mercia
825 Kent rules by Egbert of Wessex
832 Vikings raid the Isle of Sheppey
850 Vikings winter in Thanet
851 King Athelstan defeats the Vikings at Sandwich
854 Vikings winter on the Isle of Sheppey
865 Vikings control much of Eastern Kent
893 Vikings build forts at Appledore and near Milton Regis
Placeholder
12C
1127 Rochester Castle keep built
1143 Cistercian Abbey founded at Boxley
1147 Benedictine Abbey founded at Faversham
1155-6 Two charters giving rights to the Cinque Ports
1178 Austen Canons established at Erith
1180s Keep and curtain walls built at Dover Castle
Placeholder
14C
1324-6 Coastal flooding
1335 Statute of Money – pilgrims can only enter England through Dover
1337 Start of the Hundred Years War
1348-9 Black Death, possibly half the population of Kent dies
1351 Statute of Labourers
1363-80 Re-building of the Canterbury town walls
1381 Peasants Revolt
1392 The first stone bridge at Rochester
Placeholder
16C
1509 Coronation of Henry VIII
1539-44 Construction of Henry VIII castles
1553 Mary crowned
1554 Wyatt rebellion
1548 Maidstone granted a charter
1558 Elizabeth crowned
1559 Upnor castle built
1560-80 Walloon refugees settle in sandwich and Canterbury
1570 Lambarde publishes the first history of Kent
1574 First book published on hop growing.
1588 Preparation for a possible Spanish invasion. The Armada
Placeholder
18C
1709 First Turnpike Act for Kent
1730’s Mereworth Castle constructed
1740 Only four iron furnaces working in the Weald
1743 Kent beat All-England eleven at cricket
1758 Chatham Lines defences built
1778-83 Amherst Fort built
1785-95 Hasted writes his History of Kent
1791 Royal Sea bathing School opened
1796 Boy’s publishes his book on the agriculture of Kent
1796 Early warning semaphore stations opened across Kent
Placeholder
20C
1909 Louis Bleroit is the first man to fly over the Channel
1912 Betteshanger, Chislet, Snowdown and Tilmanstone collieries opened
1913 County Hall opened in Maidstone
1913 Kent coalfield opened
1914 Start of the First World War - HMS Bulwark explodes in the Medway, 800 killed
1916 Faversham munitions factory explosion, 106 killed
1918 End of the First World War
1922 Chalk cross of remembrance carved into the Downs at Lenham
1939 Start of the Second World War. Preparations for war and first evacuations
1940 Evacuation of Dunkirk - Battle of Britain
1942 Canterbury heavily bombed, Baedecker raids
1944 First V-bombs land in Kent - V2 missiles land in Kent - Second phase of evacuation in Kent
1945 End of the Second World War. VE & VJ Day celebrations throughout Kent
1953 Coastal flooding around Kent
1959 Oil refinery opened on the Isle of Grain
1960 Opening of the Kingsferry bridge to Sheppey - Royal Dockyard at Sheerness closes
1963 Current boundaries of Kent established
1964 First nuclear power station opened at Dungeness
1981 Royal Navy Dockyard at Chatham closes. Historic Dockyard opened
1972 Local Government Act changes local government boundaries in Kent
1973 Britain joins the Common Market
1976 Dartford Tunnel opened
1986 Channel Tunnel Treaty
1989 Last of the Kent collieries closes
1991 Queen Elizabeth II Thames bridge opened
1994 Channel Tunnel opened
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