Why Kent is my kingdom

PUBLISHED: 12:24 19 October 2009 | UPDATED: 16:18 20 February 2013

November 2009

November 2009

One of Kent's best-loved artists and writers felt it was about time that the pride he and so many of us share in our "wonderful county" was expressed in poetic form. Here is the result - a new poem for Kent...

Graham Clarke is passionate about Kent. "We were a Kingdom, we have a unique geographical position and as a consequence, we have seen more of the history of England pass before us than anywhere else," he told Kent Life.
"Unlike much of my work, whether visual or written, everything here is based on true facts. My history master of many years ago said, 'Clarke, if you are determined to be so funny, do it properly'. I hope I have."


A horse, a horse, my Kingdom for a horse
Mine's called Invicta of Kent, of course
And Kent is my Kingdom and ever shall be
A sort of 'Kent Nationalist?' guess that's me
Kent was a Kingdom and known by that name
For hundreds of years 'til King William came
And our borders today are much the same,
Except where London has chewed Kent's right ear
In what you might call the North West Frontier


Julius Caesar on one of his trips
Roaming about in his Roman ships
Once he'd crossed the channel over
Rather liked the look of Dover
High on the cliffs he did spy
A load of blokes, like you and I
Kentish stalwarts armed with sticks
Pitchforks, shovels, spades and bricks
Seeing such an ugly host
He chanced it further up the coast
Wrecked in nasty weather though
But made it on his second go


St. Augustine was told by Rome
"Gussie, Kent is your new home"
He landed safe on Thanet's shore
To teach the rich and bless the poor
Hopped aboard the Wantsum ferry
To do good works at Canterbury


Kentish Men and Men of Kent
Believed our laws were heaven sent
And would not pay the poll tax rent
By thirteen hundred and eighty one
Our great uprising had begun
Noble rulers brought up with a jolt
With that noble endeavour, the Peasants Revolt
Sea to the east of us, sea to the south
Sea to the north at the Thames river's mouth
Oh how fortunate we Kentish are
With our particular peninsular
We've cathedral cities, not one but two
We've the Long Nose Spit and the Hundred of Hoo
More castles than anyone else, that's true


All sorts of berries, apples and cherries
Fishing boats, barges and cross channel ferries
Dartford Warbler, Kentish Plover
And Sandwich Terns for the wild bird lover
To those three birds Kent lent it's name
And bloomin' Buff Orpingtons just the same
And no other county can make that claim
Beautiful gardens with world famous names
Half-timbered houses with sturdy oak frames
Sheep in our meadows and tucked away chapels
Neat cottage gardens and orchards of apples
As proud of Kent, as proud as can be
Darwin and Dickens, Churchill and me
Kent was a Kingdom, that's quite true
So I'm a 'Kent Nationalist', how about you?


Biddenden, Benenden, Iden and Frittenden
Shottenden, Rolvenden, Tenterden, Marden
Piggies in the wild wood instead of your garden
Goudhurst, Hawkhurst, Sandhurst and Lamberhurst
Staplehurst, Speldhurst, Sissinghurst an' all
All have pubs a' plenty if you find you've got a thirst
A hurst, by the way, is a hill with a wood
Ticehurst, Wadhurst, thought I'd better check first
Find they're in Sussex so they're no good
Hursts on the high bits, dens in the low,
A couple of facts I bet you didn't know
Kent is my Kingdom and ever shall be
A sort of 'Kent Nationalist', yes that's me
Fine Kentish place names on strong oaken posts
Take you down byways bordered by oasts
Tea time in Pluckley with warm buttered toasts
Still there at night time? Mind out for them ghosts
The castles, the cottages, the old village pub
Strong Kentish ales and good Kentish grub
All Kentish dishes with our Kentish fishes
As great a selection as any man wishes
Winkles and whelks, whitebait and oyster
Scoffed in the cottages, palace and cloister
'Fish', poor Surrey cannot boast with their non-existent coast


With strangest of beauty so close to the sea
Is Dungeness desert as flat as can be
With anglers planning on great fishing trips
Lighthouses safeguarding passing ships
It's a mecca for gourmets of fish & ships
And this stoney point, I'm proud to say
Is served by the World's smallest railway


Artist chaps could surely learn a
Trick of two from Mr Turner
Jayemdubbleyou (funny name) often down from London came
He marvelled at those sunset skies
The fish and chips and nice pork pies
That famous artist he loved Thanet
So do I, it's Thanet, an'it!
Will those in favour raise their hands
Home rule for the Goodwin Sands?
© Graham Clarke 2009


Graham Clarke's History of England, one of his many books, is illustrated with 18 of his etchings. The complete set hangs in Buckingham Palace. It is available direct from the artist at £14.95 (postage and packaging, £6) and can be personally inscribed.
Studio open days
7 - 15 Nov, noon to 5pm every day.
21 & 28 Nov, 11am - 3pm each day
5, 12 and 19 Dec, 11 am - 3 pm daily
At other times by appointment.

White Cottage, Green Lane
Boughton Monchelsea, Maidstone ME17 4LF 01622 743938

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