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A rampant white horse on a red field was anachronistically attributed as the arms of the anicent kingdom of Kent by mediaeval heralds. It is likely that it was based on a local tradition referencing local tales of a white horse symbol used by the possibly mythical founders of the Kent kingdom, Hengist and Horsa. This emblem has thus been associated with the county for centuries and long before the establishment of local government. The council later established to administer Kent was accordingly granted arms incorporating the ancient white horse but having thus existed before the origin of the county council, the arms could not be restricted to its use alone and citizens of Kent have always been free to bear a flag with this ancient white horse. The flag was duly included in the Flag Institute’s registry upon its creation, as a “traditional” design.


The Kent, Essex and Sussex emblems were notably featured in the celebrated county atlas produced by John Speed in 1611 on a map depicting the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

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