This page describes the story of a group of early vikings who became known as the Wicken, a clan of the Anglian tribe.  It follows their migration and settlements 

  1. On the Continent, 
  2. Across the Channel to the Isle of Thanet, 
  3. Across Kent to the Wicken den, 
  4. Up to East Anglia and 
  5. Over to the Western Midlands and the Kingdom of Hwicce.  

Each stage of this journey has been analyzed in a separate paper and submitted to an academic journal for review and possible publication.  The draft papers are attached here.  They will be replaced by the final papers when they are published: 

  1. Place-Name Tracing Paper #1 1-24-21.docx  
  2. Wicken Place-Name Tracing on Thanet (10-14-2020).pdf  
  3. Wicken Place-Name Tracing in Kent - with Author Details .pdf 
  4. Midlands Place-Name Tracing Paper WITH MAPS 1-19-2021.docx
  5. Hwicce Place-Name Tracing Paper with Maps 10-12-2021.docx  
  6. Hwicce Place-Name Tracing Paper with Maps 1-14-2021.docx  

These are papers on special topics:

  1. The Anglian Alliance (10/18/2021).docx
  2. Name Change Paper (9-31-2021) .docx 
  3. An Anglian Alliance: Place-Name Tracing the Iclingas and Wicingas (10-11-2023)


The Wicken were an ancient clan of Angles with a long history of migration.  These papers analyzes place-name evidence to describe the origin of the Wicken on the Continent, their arrival at the Isle of Thanet, a migration deep into the Weald of Kent where they established the Wicken den, a line of defense where they were stationed among the East Angles, and their move to a territory in the East Midlands from which they launched their final migration into the Western Midlands.  The papers make use of new research methods including micro-level tracing, retrospective tracing, route tracing and contact tracing, as well as analysis of phonology and orthography. The research is based upon a new migration-based settlement model that begins well before the Adventus Saxonum. As a result there are findings in each paper that sustain and supplement prevailing theories regarding the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain, findings that are illustrated in dramatic visual figures drawn using Google Maps.

Spoiler Alert

Each paper contains fascinating historical facts about the Wicken.  To whet the reader's appetite, here is a list of some of the most dramatic discoveries:

  1. The Wicken were an early group of vikings who received their name when they affiliated with the Anglian tribe in central Germany.
  2. The Wicken migrated north with the tribe to Angeln.  When they were invited to come to Britain, they migrated south to avoid the Saxons and Frisians and then moved due west to an island off the coast of the Netherlands, from where they crossed the Channel to Britain.
  3.  The Wicken landed in Kent and established a cluster of hamlets off the Wantsum River as well as a den (Wychdene) on the Isle of Thanet.
  4. Some Wicken migrated through the hills, down the droves and over the Roman roads through Kent, establishing a number of farms, villages and dens deep in the Weald.
  5. One estimate is that there were 700 dens in the Weald of Kent.  Not all were named, and only some were named after the folk who established them.  Besides Wychdene in Thanet and Wissendine in Rutland, there were 4 dens in the Weald, including Wycherindenn,  Winchinden, Wichenden, and Wingindene (Wickenden).
  6. All the living Wickendens appear to have descended from the original family who established and took their name from the Wicken den in Cowden, Kent.  Over the centuries, these Wickendens spread out to a dozen homesteads in Cowden, to numerous villages across Kent, to other counties of England, and to countries around the world.
  7. Other Wicken, serving as mercenaries for the British leader Vortigern, established a line of defense against an anticipated attach by the Picts, a set of settlements (Wicken Bonhunt, Wicken, Witchford) that ran from Canterbury north to Cambridge and up into East Anglia.
  8. A dozen decades later, they left on a carefully coordinated and precisely planned migration across three routes to establish a new territory of contiguous settlements among the Middle Angles (Wicken, Milton Keynes; Whiston, Witchford).
  9. After resupplying and reconnoitering, they launched a final migration to strategic locations in the Western Midlands.
  10. Because of confusion between their name, Wicing or Wicingas (which, in Middle English, became Wick and then Wicken), and the name of the people who settled in numerous villages throughout southern Britain called Wics, they changed the pronunciation of their name, which modified the spelling to Hwicce.
  11. They subsequently established a new territory by guarding its borders (from Wichenford and Whichford), controlling its trade routes and population centers (from Wychbold), affiliating with military (the Icklingas of Mercia) and religious leaders in Worchester), and pulling together the diverse population into a pluralistic multicultural, polyethnic polity which was called the Kingdom of Hwicce.
  12. This kingdom gradually became part of the Kingdom of Mercia, then the Kingdom of Wessex, and finally the Kingdom of England. 

A Presentation describing how the Wicken became the Hwicce

One crux of the theory that the Wicken not only established a den in the parish/manor/village of Cowden but went on to establish the Kingdom of Hwicce is the question of how the Wicken became the Hwicce.  The following presentation and the paper above address this question by developing and applying a theoretical model of name change as a process for developing tribal identity.

Name Change Slides.pptx

Hunt for the Hwicce - the book

These papers have been revised and compiled into a book on the Wicken.  Possible audiences include a general audience interested in the story of an unknown Anglian clan that established the medieval British Kingdom of Hwicce, an audience of academic specialists in disciplines such as Onomastics (Toponomy), Anglo-Saxon history, and Linguistics (phonology and orthography),  and an audience engaged in Genealogy and Family History - or some combination of the above.

The title of an early draft of the book was Hunt for the Hwicce: the search for a lost tribe that established a kingdom in medieval Britain.  Hunt for the Hwicce (8-23-2021).docx The latest draft is titled Hunt for the Hwicce: Sociogenesis in Early Medieval Europe. As soon as it is published, it will be posted on this website.

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