, king of Kent, and the first Christian king among the Anglo-Saxons, succeeded to the throne about the year 560. He began his reign, in order to revive the reputation of his family, by making war upon the | king of Wessex, by whom he was twice defeated, though he was afterwards triumphant, and acquired the complete ascendancy over Wessex and the other states, except Northumberland, and reduced them to the condition of his tributaries or dependants. In the reign of Ethelbert, Christianity was introduced into England. The king had married Bertha, daughter of the king of Paris, who, being a Christian, had stipulated for the free exercise of her religion, and had carried over in her train a French bishop. So exemplary in every respect were her life and conduct, that she inspired the king and his court with a high respect for her person, and for the religion by which she appeared to be influenced. The pope, taking advantage of this circumstance, sent a mission of forty monks, at the head of whom was Augustin, to preach the gospel in the island. They landed in Kent, in the year 597, and were well and hospitably received by Ethelbert, who assigned them habitations in the isle of Thanet. A conference was held, and the king took time to consider of the new doctrines propounded to him; and in the mean while gave them full liberty to preach to his subjects. Numbers were converted, and at length the king submitted to a public baptism. (See Augustine). Christianity proved the means of promoting knowledge and civilization in this -island; and the king, with the consent of his states, enacted a body of laws, which was the first written code promulgated by the northern conquerors. Ethelbert died in the year 616, and left his crown, after a reign of fifty years, to his son Edbald. 1


Hist. of England.