Bertha of Kent

Bertha ( Berta or Bercta; * to 561/562; † 601-616 / 618) was the daughter of the Merovingian Frankish king Charibert I. and Ingo Berga. Bertha is considered a saint.


To 580 married Bertha Christian pagan Aethelberht I of Kent. Gregory of Tours called Aethelberht in this context regis filius ( " son of the king " ), which suggests historian that his father was still alive at that time Eormenric and Aethelberht was not yet king. While some an early date to take 560 for Eormenrics death, others tend to go out of the time around 585/590. Correspondingly unclear whether the heath Eormenric had the opportunity to influence the choice of a bride of his son. Aethelberht initially remained heathen, but was tolerant in religious matters and prevented Bertha not in the exercise of their faith. From this marriage the son Eadbald and presumably the daughter Æthelburg emerged. The Christian legend has it that even Eadburh, Abbess of Liming, have been her daughter.

She brought Bishop Liudhard as their chaplain to England. and let in Canterbury rebuild a church that dated from the period of Roman occupation. This they dedicated to St. Martin of Tours, one of the main patrons of the Frankish royal family; the present church of St. Martin in Canterbury is still in the same place.

Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet 597. The influence of Bertha may have caused Aethelberht, the missionaries, the Pope Gregory I sent from Rome to welcome. Pope Gregory I blamed Bertha in the year 601 in a letter that they would neglect the conversion of her husband, which suggests that the baptism may not have happened before 601. In the same letter ( Gregory I, Ep XI, 35) However, it has also been praised for their support of Augustine's mission.

Bertha died 601-616 / 618 and was in the Martin's Chapel, the mausoleum of the Abbey Church, " Peter and Paul " of Canterbury, was buried. Aethelberht was buried after his death in 616/618 at her side.


Bertha was venerated as a saint soon after her death, although there is no evidence of a cult of it. Her feast day is the 4th of July.


Pictures of Bertha of Kent