Hengist and Horsa

Hengist and Horsa

also known as Civilization: British: Juteland

Hengest and Horsa

Era: Celtic-Roman
Died 488 Field of Renown: military: Mercenary
 Hengist and Horsa landing in England.

Hengist and Horsa were brother chieftains from Jutland, who led the first Saxon bands which settled in England. They were called in by the British king Vortigern to defend him against the Picts and other enemies. The place of their landing is said to have been Ebbsfleet in Kent, probably sometime around 450 A.D.. Hengist and Horsa were at first given the island of Thanet as a home, but they soon quarrelled with their British allies, and gradually possessed themselves of what became the kingdom of Kent. In 455 the Saxon Chronicle records a battle between Hengist and Horsa and Vortigern at a place called Aegaels threp, in which Horsa was slain. Thenceforward Hengist reigned in Kent, together with his son Aesc. There later followed three subsequent battles, which resulted in the expulsion of the Britons from Kent.

There are several legends associated with Hengist and Horsa. It is said that Hengist married off his beautiful daughter Rowena to Vortigern, which gave him great power over the British king, but angered the sons of Vortigern. There are stories of several more battles and incidents of treachery between the Saxon invaders and the Britons, and other stories which tie the early Saxon invaders to the legend of King Arthur. The truth is that the arrival of the Saxon hoards led to a long period of chaos, anarchy, and civil war in Britain, and the specifics of the matter are not known with any reliability. The first few centuries after the Saxon invasion are known as the 'dark ages' in British history, because the Saxon invaders were largely illiterate and kept few permanent records until they were converted to Christianity in the seventh century.

Key events during the life of

Year Event
449 Hengist and Horsa arrive in England and help repel a Pictish invasion.
  Island of Thanet granted to Hengist and Horsa for their services.
  Vortigern marries Rowena, the beautiful daughter of Hengist.
455 Horsa slain in battle with Vortigern.
  Hengist drives the Britons out of Kent and founds the first Saxon kingdom in Britain.
488 Death of Hengist
450-650 Dark ages of British History


Story LinksBook Links
Anglo-Saxons in  Alfred the Great  by  Abbott
Wulf, the Saxon Boy in  Ten Boys Who Lived on the Road from Long Ago to Now  by  Andrews
Story of Vortigern in  Stories from English History: I  by  Church
Coming of the English in  Story of England  by  Harding
Story of the Coming of Hengist and Horsa in  Our Island Story  by  Marshall
Coming of the Teutons to England in  European Hero Stories  by  Tappan

Image Links
Hengist and Horsa landing in England  in Famous Men of the Middle Ages Rowena came into the room carrying a beautiful golden cup.  in Our Island Story

Contemporary Short Biography
Vortigern King of the Britons. Usurped the throne from rightful heir. Invited Hengist and Horsa.
Rowena Daugher of Hengist who marries Vortigern.
Vortimer Son of Vortigern who tried to reclaim Kent for the Britons.