Hlothhere of Kent

Hlothhere (Old English: Hloþhere; died 6 February 685) was a King of Kent who ruled from 673 to 685.[1]

Gravesite at St Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury of four Kentish kings. Hlothhere's is the second from the left.

Hlothhere succeeded his brother Ecgberht I in 673. His parents were Eorcenberht of Kent and Seaxburh of Ely, the daughter of Anna of East Anglia.[2] In 676 the Mercian king Æthelred invaded Kent and caused great destruction;[3] according to Bede, even churches and monasteries were not spared, and Rochester was laid waste. The damage was so great that Putta, Bishop of Rochester, resigned.[4] So too did his successor, Cwichhelm, [5] due to the poverty of the see.

Hlothhere's rule survived this onslaught, however. He appears for a time to have reigned jointly with his nephew Eadric, son of Ecgberht I, since a code of laws still extant was issued under both their names.[6] A law code, the Law of Hlothhere and Eadric, is jointly attributed to him and his successor Eadric. In 685, Eadric went into exile and led the South Saxons against Hlothhere, who was defeated and died of his wounds.

The information is derived from Bede, but Hlothhere is the earliest Kentish king for whom genuine charters survive. One charter known from a 15th-century copy, is precisely dated to 1 April 675 in the first year of Hlothhere's reign, which conflicts with accession date attributed to him by Bede. The Charter of King Hlothhere of Kent, 679 survives in its original form. Two further charters attributed to Hlothere (S1648, S1648a), appear to have been altered copies of charters of Swæfheard and Swæfberht. (Kelly 1995).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hlothhere" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ Earle, John. Two of the Saxon Chronicles Parallel, Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1865, p. 27.
  3. ^ Bede, Ecclesiastical History, IV, 12, p. 223.
  4. ^ Smith, R. A. L., "The Early Community of St. Andrew at Rochester, 604-c. 1080". The English Historical Review. (September 1945), 60 (238): 289–299. doi:10.1093/ehr/LX.CCXXXVIII.289 JSTOR 556594
  5. ^ Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I., Handbook of British Chronology (Third revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (1996), p. 221 ISBN 0-521-56350-X
  6. ^ Oliver, Lisi. The Beginnings of English Law, Toronto. Toronto University Press, 2002, pp. 126–27, 134 ISBN 0-8020-3535-3

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Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Kent
with Eadric
Succeeded by