Chapter 1: A Village is Born - Arrival of the Jutes contd

Article Index
Chapter 1: A Village is Born
The Arrival of the Jutes
Arrival of the Jutes contd
How Certain Can We Be?
The Saxon Settlement
TheSaxon Village
All Pages

The arrival of the Jutes (continued)


Hengest is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning stallion. From Saxon times Kent’s emblem has been a white horse. Whether the emblem derives from the name of that first Jutish king, or the king adopted a tribal totem for his name or whether the whole story is an allegory for the heroic establishment of the Jutish kingdom we may never know. Orthodoxy doubted the existence of three separate Germanic peoples, the Angles, Jutes and Saxons, but the assembly of fifth and sixth century artefacts uncovered in Kent in the past few decades is distinct from artefacts of a similar age found elsewhere in the country, and show affinity with artefacts found on the Jutland peninsula. Evidence for this history comes from early Saxon and Welsh texts. Shades of opinion exist ranging from denial of the reliability of any of the texts to the complete acceptance of all. The romantic in me tends towards the latter point of view.


I like to believe that Mundel was one of Hengest’s warriors who, fresh from success against Picts and Britons, enriched by the booty of war, returned to Jutland to load family and possessions onto a ship and sail back to Kent. Sometimes, when walking up the hill from the Brooks to the church, I turn and look back towards the plain that was the Wantsum Channel. My mind’s eye sees Mundel’s ship sailing into the inlet leading towards the village. The coastline was different then. Thanet was an island separated from the Kentish mainland by the Wantsum Channel. It is likely that the settlers sailed or rowed up the wide inlet which later became the North Stream. The map shows many of the historic sites mentioned in the text, It also shows the route that Mundel might have taken to reach Mongeham. The ship is beached. Mundel’s party disembark and move up the hill. Mundel, his brothers and sons, each with his own household would set up their homesteads. Mundel’s would be towards the top of the hill, providing a good vantage point looking towards the sea. The other men would take advantage of the rich alluvial soils when choosing positions for their own homesteads. These deep soils, accumulated in the dips and valleys between the downs, had been cultivated for centuries. My mind’s eye fills in detail which is even more conjectural. So much for my imagination, but this image derives from known patterns of Saxon settlement.


+1 #1 Anne 2011-03-16 16:08
:-) Very interesting. What a lovely English village Great Mongeham is.

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