Kent

Kent
County
Flag of Kent.svgCoat of arms of Kent
FlagCoat of arms
Motto: "Invicta"
Kent within England
Coordinates: 51°12′N 0°42′E / 51°12′N 0°42′E / 51.200; 0.700England
RegionSouth East
EstablishedAncient
Ceremonial county
Lord LieutenantPhilip Sidney
High SheriffPaul Barrett[1] (2019/20)
Area3,736 km2 (1,442 sq mi)
 • Ranked10th of 48
Population (mid-2018 est.)1,832,300
 • Ranked6th of 48
Density490/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Ethnicity89% White British
Non-metropolitan county
County councilKent County Council
ExecutiveConservative
Admin HQMaidstone
Area3,544 km2 (1,368 sq mi)
 • Ranked1st of 27
Population1,554,600
 • Ranked1st of 27
Density438/km2 (1,130/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2GB-KEN
ONS code29
GSS codeE10000016
www.kent.gov.uk
KentDistrictsNumbered.svg
Districts of Kent
Unitary County council area
Districts
  1. Sevenoaks
  2. Dartford
  3. Gravesham
  4. Tonbridge and Malling
  5. Medway
  6. Maidstone
  7. Tunbridge Wells
  8. Swale
  9. Ashford
  10. City of Canterbury
  11. Folkestone and Hythe
  12. Thanet
  13. Dover
Members of ParliamentList of MPs
PoliceKent Police
Time zoneGreenwich Mean Time (UTC)
 • Summer (DST)British Summer Time (UTC+1)

Kent is a county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estuary of the River Thames (connected by land via High Speed 1 and the Dartford Crossing), and with the French department of Pas-de-Calais through the Channel Tunnel. The county town is Maidstone.

Canterbury Cathedral in Kent has been the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England, since the Reformation. Prior to that it was built by Catholics, dating back to the conversion of England to Catholicism by Saint Augustine that began in the 6th century. Before the English Reformation the cathedral was part of a Benedictine monastic community known as Christ Church, Canterbury, as well as being the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury. The last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury was Reginald Pole. Rochester Cathedral is also in Kent, in Medway. It is the second-oldest cathedral in England, with Canterbury Cathedral being the oldest. Between London and the Strait of Dover, which separates it from mainland Europe, Kent has seen both diplomacy and conflict, ranging from the Leeds Castle peace talks of 1978 and 2004 to the Battle of Britain in World War II.

England relied on the county's ports to provide warships through much of its history; the Cinque Ports in the 12th–14th centuries and Chatham Dockyard in the 16th–20th centuries were of particular importance. France can be seen clearly in fine weather from Folkestone and the White Cliffs of Dover. Hills in the form of the North Downs and the Greensand Ridge span the length of the county and in the series of valleys in between and to the south are most of the county's 26 castles.

Because of its relative abundance of fruit-growing and hop gardens, Kent is known as "The Garden of England".[2]

Kent's economy is greatly diversified; haulage, logistics, and tourism are major industries. In northwest Kent industries include extraction of aggregate building materials, printing and scientific research. Coal mining has also played its part in Kent's industrial heritage. Large parts of Kent are within the London commuter belt and its strong transport connections to the capital and the nearby continent make Kent a high-income county. Twenty-eight per cent of the county forms part of two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: the North Downs and The High Weald.

Etymology

An early mention of Kent in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

The name Kent is believed to be of British Celtic origin and was known in Old English as Cent, Cent lond, Centrice (all pronounced with a "hard C" as “Kent-”). In Latin sources Kent is mentioned as Cantia, Canticum. The meaning is explained by some researchers as "coastal district," or "corner-land, land on the edge" (compare Welsh cant "bordering of a circle, tire, edge," Breton cant "circle").[3][4] If so, the name could be etymologically related to the placename Cantabria, historically a Celtic-speaking coastal region in pre-Roman Iberia, today an autonomous community of Spain.