This article appeared in the Winter 1967 (Issue #10) edition of the Kent Archaeological Review.
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Letter to the Editor --
Tenterden and Thanet.
Mr Rendel, in his interesting discussion of the connexion between Tenterden and Thanet, seems to be anxious to establish a Roman origin for Tenterden, although he is puzzled by the absence of Roman finds there. Admittedly, it may always have been a position of some strategic importance, but this does not explain the connexion with Thanet, apart from the possible one of a link road.
Surely, the connexion may be definitely dated from Saxon times, originating in a gift by Egbert to Ermenburga, Abbess of Minster in Thanet, as suggested by Mr Rendel? Any remains of Saxon buildings would, of course, have disappeared, being probably mere wood and mud huts.
There seems no reason to think that the element "den" in the name is late. It was common in the earliest Saxon charters, signifying an outlying Wealden swine-pasture ("den-bearu"), and these were often at a great distance from the parent settlement.
Until the nineteenth century the Court of Dens (claiming jurisdiction over 44 Dens in the Tenterden area) was held at Aldington, near Hythe, in order to regulate their use as common pasture. I should be interested to know of any records of their proceedings regulating the use of the pasture? If so, where these records are? They would be most interesting and would probably clear up the matter of the connexion of Tenterden with the Abbey of Minster in Thanet.