Isle of Thanet - Framed Picture - 12" x 16"
The Isle of Thanet lies at the most easterly point of Kent. While in the past it was separated from the mainland by the 2,000 ft Wantsum Channel, it is no longer an island.
The name "Tanet" is known to be Brythonic in origin. Commonly the original meaning of Thanet is thought to be fire/bright island (tan means fire in Modern Welsh), this has led to speculation the island was home to an ancient beacon or lighthouse.
The Historia Brittonum, written in Wales in the 9th century, states that "Tanet" was the name used for the island by the legendary Anglo-Saxons Hengist and Horsa.
The 7th-century Archbishop Isidore of Seville recorded an apocryphal folk-etymology in which the island's name is fancifully connected with the Greek word for death.
Vortigern, King of the Britons, was under attack from other tribes and called for assistance. Among them were the Jutes Hengist and Horsa; he is said to have rewarded them with the Isle of Thanet in return for their services.
Throughout this time the Isle remained an island. The Wantsum Channel allowed ships to sail between the mainland and the island in calm waters. Gradually this silted up, and the last ship sailed through the Channel in 1672.
In 597 Augustine of Canterbury is said, to have landed with 40 men at Ebbsfleet, in the parish of Minster-in-Thanet, before founding Britain's second Christian monastery in Canterbury.
In 851 and again in 854, the Vikings wintered on Thanet.
By 1334–1335 Thanet had the highest population density in Kent according to King Edward III's lay subsidy rolls. Thanet acted as a granary for Calais and documents towards the end of that century refer to turreted walls beneath the cliffs needing maintenance.