Kent is a county in the South East of England and one of the home counties.
Bordered by East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London. Maidstone is its county town and historically Rochester and Canterbury have been accorded city status.
The area has been occupied since the Palaeolithic era and there is a rich sequence of Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Roman era occupation.
The modern name of Kent is derived from the Brythonic word Cantus meaning “rim” or “border”. This describes the eastern part of the current county area as a border land or coastal district. Julius Caesar had described the area as Cantium, or home of the Cantiaci in 51 BC.
The early medieval inhabitants of the county were known as the Cantwara, or Kentish. These people regarded the city of Canterbury as their capital.
When Augustine was appointed as the first Archbishop of Canterbury by Pope Gregory I in 597 the Diocese of Canterbury became Britain’s first Episcopal See and has since been regarded as Britain’s centre of Christianity.
The Royal Navy first used the River Medway in 1547. By the reign of Elizabeth I (1558–1603) a small dockyard had been established at Chatham.
Tensions between Britain, the Netherlands and France led to an increasing military build-up in the county and forts were built all along the coast following a successful attack by the Dutch navy on the shipyards of the Medway towns in 1667.
During the 18th century the Medway became the primary base for a fleet that could act along the Dutch and French coasts.
As an indication of the area’s military importance, the first Ordnance Survey map ever drawn was a one-inch map of Kent, published in 1801.
In the early 19th century, smugglers were very active on the Kent coastline, bringing spirits, tobacco and salt into the county.
Some of Kent is contiguous with the Greater London suburban sprawl, most notably parts of Dartford.
England has relied on the county’s ports to provide warships through much of the past 800 years; the Cinque Ports in the 12th–14th centuries and Chatham Dockyard in the 16th–20th centuries were of particular importance to the country’s security.
During World War II, much of the Battle of Britain was fought in the skies over the county. Between June 1944 and March 1945, over 10,000 V1 flying bombs or “Doodlebugs”, were fired toward London from bases in Northern France.
Although many were destroyed by aircraft, anti-aircraft guns, and barrage balloons, both London and Kent were hit by around 2,500 of these high-explosive bombs. East Kent became known as Hell Fire Corner during the conflict.
After the war, Kent’s borders changed several more times. In 1965 the London boroughs of Bromley and Bexley were created from nine towns formerly in Kent.
In 1998, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, and Rainham left the administrative county of Kent to form the Unitary Authority of Medway.
Because of its abundance of orchards and hop gardens, Kent is traditionally known as “The Garden of England” a name often applied when marketing the county or its produce while its industrial heritage, besides ship-building, includes cement, coal mining, paper-making and aircraft construction. In more recent times these have been superceded by tourism and the ubiquitous agriculture.
According to the story, the apple that Isaac Newton saw falling to ground from its tree, inspiring his laws of universal gravitation was a variety of cooking apple known as The Flower of Kent. Pear-shaped and mealy it is considered of generally poor quality by today’s standards.
Be that as it may, it will come as no great surprise to anybody that the actual county flower of Kent is the humulus lupulus (or common hop)
The fragrant flower cones impart bitterness and flavour, and also have preservative qualities.