Bertha of Kent

Bertha of Kent

A statue of Queen Bertha in Lady Wootton's Gardens, Kent.
Queen and Confessor
Born c. 565
Neustria, Francia
Died In or after 601
Canterbury, Kent, England
Venerated in Catholic Church Eastern Orthodox Church Anglican Communion
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Feast May, 1st
Queen consort of Kent
Spouse Æthelberht of Kent
Issue Eadbald of Kent
Æthelburg of Kent
Dynasty Merovingian
Father Charibert I
Mother Ingoberga

Saint Bertha or Saint Aldeberge (b. Estimated around c. 565 [1] d. in or after 601) was the queen of Kent whose influence led to the Christianization of Anglo-Saxon England. She was canonized as a saint for her role in its establishment during that period of English history.


Bertha was a Frankish princess, the daughter of Charibert I and his wife Ingoberga, granddaughter of the reigning King Chlothar I and great-granddaughter of Clovis I and Saint Clotilde .[2] Her father died in 567, her mother in 589. Bertha had been raised near Tours.[3] Her marriage to pagan King Æthelberht of Kent was conditioned on her being allowed to practice her religion.[4] She brought her chaplain, Liudhard, with her to England.[5] Bertha restored a Christian church in Canterbury, which dated from Roman times, dedicating it to Saint Martin of Tours. It was the private chapel of Queen Bertha before Augustine arrived from Rome. The present St Martin's at Canterbury continues in the same building as the oldest church in the English-speaking world and is part of the Canterbury World Heritage site.[6]

Augustine of Canterbury, whose Gregorian mission was sent by Pope Gregory I to preach the Gospel in England in 596, owed much of his favorable reception to the influence of Bertha.[7] Without her support, monastic settlements and the cathedral would likely have developed elsewhere.[8] In 601, Pope Gregory addressed a letter to Bertha, in which he complimented her highly on her faith and knowledge of letters.[4]

Anglo-Saxon records indicate that Saint Bertha had two children: Eadbald of Kent, and Æthelburg of Kent. She is named in the genealogies of various of the medieval accounts of the 'Kentish Royal Legend'.[9]

The date of her death is disputed.[4]


The city of Canterbury celebrates Queen Bertha in many ways.

Images of St. Martin's Church, Canterbury, Kent, England


External links

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