Egypt in England

An investigation of the evidence for an ancient Egyptian colony in the British Isles more than 3,500 years ago


In this article we hope to show that the ancient Egyptians colonised parts of the British Isles in the distant past. We shall do this in our usual manner, basing our conjectures on facts, not fantasy, by carefully examining the available archaeological, historical and linguistic evidence for an Egyptian presence in England from a wide variety of sources. We are not the first to make this claim. During the last century several respected scholars and antiquarians mooted the same proposition. Among them were Atlantologist, Egerton Sykes (1894-1983), the Egyptologist, Sir Grafton Elliot Smith (1871-1937), and the antiquarian scholar, James Rendel Harris (1852-1941). During the 1930's Rendel Harris and his assistant, H. T. Sherlock, published several essays showing the close links between ancient Egypt and the British Isles, some of which we have drawn upon for this article. In addition, we have conducted our own researches over many years, the fruits of which we venture to hope will be of interest to all our readers, whether they are occultists or not.

Egyptian voyages

Two principal causes have contributed to obscure and suppress the proposition that the ancient Egyptians traded with, and colonised the British Isles. Firstly, the difficulty in deciphering the records of which the key had been lost. Secondly, the superstitious fancy that the Egyptians were not a seagoing people. The former difficulty has largely been overcome through the birth of Egyptology in the 19th century and its establishment in the 20th and 21st centuries as a science in its own right.

During the past hundred years considerable evidence has come to light which shows conclusively that the ancient Egyptians made many long voyages. The most well-known of these is the expedition to the mysterious Land of Punt commissioned by Queen Hatshepsut during the 18th Dynasty, which is depicted in a relief at her temple in Deir el-Bahri. The expedition consisted of five ships over seventy feet long, each capable of carrying 200 sailors. After reaching Punt, the expedition returned with plants, animals, incense, ebony, and even people native to the Land of Punt. In 2006, archaeologists discovered the remains of several seagoing ships in a manmade complex of caves at Wadi Gawasis, near the modern city of Port Safaga on the Red Sea.

One of the few secular tales of Egypt that have come down to us is called The Castaway which was written probably in the third Millennium B.C. The Castaway narrates that he set out for the Mines of Honham (note this well) and went to sea in a ship, 150 cubits long and 40 cubits wide (about 225 feet and 60 feet respectively) with 150 of the best sailors in the land of Egypt. The ship foundered, and the narrator, the only survivor, was cast upon an island, where he found a new ship, fully manned, in which he reached Egypt after a voyage of two months. Two things in this account are very significant: the voyage was to some mines (the location of which is unknown) and these mines were more than two months' sailing from Egypt, for the implication is that the Castaway was wrecked before he reached them. So we may safely say that the Egyptians made long and difficult voyages in search of metals.

From time immemorial Cornwall has been the place for tin, and with reference to ancient Cornish tin-workings we find Professor Gowland writing: "In Cornwall the conditions for the production of the metal (tin) were especially favourable; the ore was undoubtedly abundant and subterranean mining operations were not required, as it was found either at the surface of the ground, or at but little depth below it, disseminated through the old river gravels. From the fusibility of tin and the comparative ease with which the ore is reduced, the metal must have been produced in Cornwall not long after Neolithic man settled there."

Now, it is noteworthy that there are no megaliths in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Middlesex and Surrey—all counties destitute of metals. But we find good evidence of megaliths in Cornwall, Devonshire, Wiltshire, South Wales and the Lake District, areas where metals are abundant. This suggests some connection between megaliths and metals. If we study the ancient roads of the British Isles we find that, generally speaking, they seem to run through or near the metal-megalithic areas: also, that the ancient roads appear to radiate from three centres—Kent, London and the area around Stonehenge. Watling Street, many parts of which are still in use today as modern roads, was an ancient track-way that connected the Isle of Thanet and the Kentish coast with the village of Wroxeter, near Shrewsbury, in Shropshire.

Rendel Harris has shown that the name Watling is derived from the Egyptian word for road, which was uat, pronounced 'wat' and the name of the Sun-God, Ra, or uat-ra, the road or way of the Sun. Watling Street crosses Fosse Way at High Cross in Leicestershire. Fosse Way was another major ancient track-way that runs north-east to south-west and passes close to Stonehenge and Avebury in Wiltshire—both important megalithic sites. In Ancient Paths, Graham Robb argues that the roads we call Roman, were constructed much earlier by the Druids. We agree, though we incline to the view that many of these ancient trade routes were first built by the Egyptian colonists.

Egyptian presence in England

In 2001, an unusual book was published which claimed that ancient Egyptians emigrated to Europe and to parts of Britain and Ireland in the 14th century B.C. That book is Kingdom of the Ark: That Startling Story of How the Ancient British Race is Descended from the Pharaohs by Lorraine Evans. Whilst we do not agree with the author's contention that the British and Scots are descended from the Pharaohs of Egypt, the evidence she has marshalled deserves more serious consideration than it has received from orthodox Egyptologists and scholars. We shall refer to some of this evidence later.

Before we do so, we would say that whilst the evidence collected by Ms Evans supports the case for extensive and well-established trade links between Egypt and Europe, it does not constitute proof that a daughter of the 18th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaton with the unlikely name of 'Scota', founded the dynasty of the High Kings of Tara in Ireland and gave her name to Scotland, nor that the British are the descendents of Egyptian colonists! We know who Akhenaton's daughters were from the monuments of Egypt and none of them bear names remotely resembling 'Scota'.

Nevertheless, it is true that the Amarna period was one of great religious upheaval and social disorder, so it is not impossible that some Egyptians fled their country rather than endure the terrible conditions at home, just as people flee such conflicts today. But this cannot have been a wholesale migration or we would expect to find some record of it in the monuments and papyri of the period. No such records have been found. For these reasons we regard Ms Evans' claims with the greatest scepticism.

Kent: the landing place of the Egyptian colonists

The Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Normans all began their conquests of Britain in or near Kent, and the Spanish and the Germans were poised to do the same. So we should expect to find that the ancient Egyptian colonists and traders first landed in Kent, and so we do, as we shall see. But what of the name itself? Most historians tell us it is derived from the Celtic word Cantus meaning "rim" or "border". Caesar called it Cantium, but as we will show, neither the Celts nor the Romans were the first settlers in this part of England. If we consult Budge's hieroglyphic dictionary we find that Khent was a common Egyptian word meaning that which is in front, foremost or first. We find it in such words as Am-Khent, the priest who was the foremost of those who conducted the "opening of the mouth" ceremony in the rites of the Egyptian resurrection of the mummy, or Sahu. We find it in the titles of Osiris, who was called Khenti-Amenti—the first of the Westerners—and especially do we find it connected with transport by water and gardens, and Kent was known as the "garden of England" since the earliest times on account of its fertile soil and mild, maritime climate. So we may safely say that Kent is an Egyptian name, still preserved intact after thousands of years.

When we look around the county of Kent we find a multitude of Egyptian place names, all pointing to the fact that this was one of the most important landing places of the Egyptian colonists. The Isle of Thanet is the most easterly point of Kent, which in the past was separated from the mainland by the Wantsum Channel, until the accumulation of silt brought down by the Medway and Thames joined it to the mainland in the late 17th century. The Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names tells us that the name 'Thanet' is Celtic in origin and may mean "bright island" or "fire island." The association with fire suggests that metalworking was carried on in the island from the earliest times, which we know to be the case from the high concentrations of iron, tin and copper ingots, ash and slag found in the Bronze Age settlements excavated on the island.

If we go further back in time we find that the Historia Brittonum, written in Wales in the 9th century, says the island was called Tanet by the Anglo-Saxons. Now, this brings us very close to the Egyptian word Ta-Net, or the land, or place of the goddess Net. The word ta meant land in Egyptian as well as fire, whilst the goddess Net or Neith was revered as the 'opener of the way' from the earliest dynasties and closely associated with weaving, water and warfare. All this fits in perfectly with Thanet being one of the places at which the Egyptian colonists landed and established themselves as traders and metalworkers.

Rendel Harris was of the opinion that the Isle of Thanet was named after the Egyptian city of Tanis, which is also possible, for the Egyptian name for this important port and trading centre in the Nile Delta was Sekhet Tchanet, or field of Tchanet. Rendel Harris also draws attention to the fact that Sekhet Tchanet was enclosed between the two arms of the Nile, just as the Isle of Thanet was enclosed between the sea on one side and the Wantsum Channel on the other. Whichever theory is correct, it is reasonable to say that Thanet is an Egyptian name, hardly changed in more than 3,500 years.

What of the Wantsum Channel? If our thesis is correct, we should expect the Egyptian colonists to have given a name to this important navigable canal. The Venerable Bede, writing in the 8th century, called it Wantsumu, which it is thought is of Teutonic origin. Want or Went means a way and sum has the same qualifying force as the word 'some' when it is used in words like 'winsome', meaning 'capable' of charm or love. So we may say that whereas the northern branch of the River Stour was not fordable, the Wantsum was so named because it could be safely crossed. But is it necessary to wait for the savage Germans before naming this once broad, English waterway? If we take the Egyptian word uat, pronounced 'wat', mentioned earlier and add to it the word sunu, which means canal, lake, or pool, we come pretty close to Bede's Wantsumu—a waterway used by the Egyptian colonists of Kent and named by them.

Rendel Harris identified many Egyptian place names in Kent. Just outside Canterbury we find a place called White Walls, which was another name for Memphis in ancient Egypt. There is also an area called White Walls near Rochester. Then we find a place called Dunkirk, also near Canterbury; the headquarters of the Memphites used to be at Dunkirk in Northern France. On the Isle of Sheppey we find the village of Harty. The word hati, pronounced 'hearty' in Egyptian, can mean 'heart', 'foremost' and 'furnace', all definitions which describe this important ancient metalworking centre located close to the sea, which we discuss in our afterword on the Legend of St Mildred.

The ancient name for the river Thames was 'Tamesis', and it is named as such by Julius Caesar in his record of the Gallic Wars, written in the first century B.C. Even today, the stretch of the river above Iffley Lock, near Oxford is called the River Isis. This strongly suggests that it was used by the Egyptian colonists to transport goods from Kent to London, and possibly onwards to Stonehenge and Avebury. This similarity of names surely must have some connection, especially as we know they carried on a good deal of trading with each other. Canterbury itself must have been called either Memphis or Kentaber of the Menapii. Not far from the village of Harty is a hamlet called Mockett(s). The equivalent Egyptian word is Maqet which means ladder, probably a former landing place for Egyptian traders. From the same root we get Margate and St Margaret. So far we have considered only one corner of England, but as we hope to show in a later article, the Egyptian colonists were spread all over England, including Cornwall, Wales and the Isle of Wight.

Stonehenge and Avebury

In Joan Grant's novel Winged Pharaoh, in which she vividly recalls a previous life lived in ancient Egypt during the 1st Dynasty, she mentions visiting the 'White Island' during her Initiation, where "they know much wisdom." Those of you who have crossed the English Channel from France to Dover will know that she is referring to the British Isles. This is confirmed later on when she writes:

"Here there are many who listen, for upon Earth they have teachers who go among the people from a place called A-vey-Baru, where priests are trained in the way of Anubis. Their temple is encircled by a great ditch, and the walls are of single stones, unhewn, joined to each other with wood and clay and covered with white plaster. With such awe do the people look upon this place that when they sleep they come here to learn those things it is well for them to know."

This temple can be none other than the ancient stone circle whose remains can still be seen in modern Avebury, in Wiltshire. 'A-vey-Baru' is probably a corruption of the Egyptian words Abu-Ra (meaning house of the Sun), or possibly Aa-ba-ru ('great place of the coming-forth of the soul'). In any event, it was clearly a sacred place of great importance to both the native inhabitants and the Egyptian colonists and traders. Joan Grant continues her description as follows:

"Here there are no divisions of rank or wealth; each man is judged solely by what he knows. And those who are young (in spirit) and know not for themselves follow the guidance of their priests, as happy children follow them they love."

Here we have confirmation of the presence of an ancient Egyptian priesthood in England as long ago as 4,000 B.C., and the existence of a temple dedicated to the worship of the spiritual Sun.

It is noteworthy that within the general vicinity of Avebury, we find no less than five stone circles, including the recently excavated Marden Henge, thought to be even larger than Stonehenge. But Avebury dwarfs even these two monuments, though little of it remains today. As long ago as the middle of the 17th century, the antiquarian, John Aubrey wrote "Avebury does as much exceed in greatness the so renowned Stonehenge as a cathedral doth a parish church." Very close to Avebury we find one of the most enigmatic monuments in Europe: Silbury Hill. This enormous artificial mound rises some 130 feet above the surrounding plain and is 500 feet wide at its base.

Despite the many excavations made during the past 300 years nothing of any significance has ever been found within Silbury Hill, and certainly no skeletal or funerary remains such as we might expect if the mound were a tomb as some have suggested. In this it shares a relationship with the Great Pyramid of Giza, also an artificial 'mound', and one within which nothing has been found either, despite the continuing assertion by orthodox archaeologists and Egyptologists that it was the 'tomb' of 'Khufu' or Cheops. What we do know from a seismic survey conducted in 2002, is that Silbury Hill was probably constructed in the shape of an ascending spiral, which connects it with ancient Egypt in which we find many step-pyramids. Those of you who have read The Golden Star, or know somewhat of Occult Science will see the significance of this design, for "everything moves and evolves in circles, ovoids and spirals in cyclic evolution of the Universes of Spirit and Matter—which are One!" as the aforementioned book tells us.

Silbury Hill also shares another curious relationship with ancient Egypt. The British monument is located at latitude 51 degrees 25 minutes north and has an angle of slope of 30 degrees, whilst the Great Pyramid is situated at 30 degrees north and has an angle of slope of 51 degrees and 51 minutes. Make of this what you will; we are not sure if the coincidence is significant or not. What we would say is that Avebury and the surrounding megalithic sites all point to this area having been a centre of the solar worship and instruction in the Mysteries in England, and that this worship and instruction was essentially the same as we find in ancient Egypt during the 18th Dynasty.

What of the word 'bury' itself? This suffix is common in many English place-names and is generally thought to derive from the Old High German bergen by way of the Old English byrgan, meaning to raise a mound, but we are not so sure. We have already seen how names change over time, and that unless one is prepared to analyse them from every possible angle, it is all to easy to accept the orthodox explanation, which, as we have also seen, is not always the correct one. We know from the Oera Linda Book, that the Frisian word for the citadels which housed the sacred fire was 'burg'. We also know that the present-day cities of Middelburg in Holland, Gothenburg in Sweden and Hamburg in Germany, were all Frisian citadels. It does not seem unreasonable that this word which meant a holy and sacred place, generally set upon a mound or hill, may have been derived from ancient Egypt, where bu-ra or bu-re meant just such a place.

Egyptian finds in England and Europe

A shipwrecked boat excavated in Ferriby on the Humber Estuary in northern England in 1938-1946 was of a design similar to those used in the ancient Mediterranean and was carbon-dated to 1400-1350 B.C. In 1955, archaeologist Sean O'Riordan discovered a remarkable skeleton during an excavation at Tara, in Ireland, which was carbon dated to around 1350 B.C. In 1956, J. F. Stone and L. C. Thomas reported that the necklace of faience beads discovered near the skeleton were of identical manufacture and design to those found in 18th Dynasty Egypt. An almost identical necklace was found in a Bronze Age burial mound at North Molton, in Devon. Were these the bodies of ancient Egyptian colonists? It is very likely.

Two barrow burials near Stonehenge were excavated in 1808 and 1818 and contained amber jewellery and gold artefacts that closely resemble types found in ancient Egypt. Two Bronze Age shipwrecks found in the English Channel, one near Dover and one in Devon, which have been dated to around 1500 B.C., were carrying cargoes of bronze artefacts, suggesting that trade in metals between England and Egypt was well established at this time. In 2014, archaeologists analysed some blue faience beads found in a Bronze Age burial about 40km south of Copenhagen, in Denmark and made the startling discovery that they originated in the same workshop that made beads for the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamen, over 3,500 years ago.

Linguistic connections

It may surprise our readers to learn that there are several ancient Egyptian words still in common use in English and other European languages. Our first example is the wood we call ebony, which word is almost the same in all modern and ancient languages. So that we find in Old English 'heben'; in French: 'ébène'; in Greek 'ebonos'; in Latin 'hebenus'; in Hebrew 'hobhnim'; and in the Slavic languages 'eben' or 'heban'. All derived from the ancient Egyptian word 'hibanee' for the dense, black hardwood now mainly native to India, Ceylon and West Africa.

Our next word is the German Käfer, meaning beetle. This is also found in Dutch where it is written 'Kever'. So far as we have been able to discover these are the only two languages which have preserved the ancient Egyptian word for beetle, which was Khepher, or Kheper, pronounced 'keyfur', exactly as it is in Germany today. Nowadays, modern Egyptologists transliterate the word as Khepri but we prefer the older spelling used by Wallis Budge and others as it is closer to the actual ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. One of our kind readers has pointed out to us that the word "Chafer" (as in the cockchafer—colloquially known as the May bug) means a beetle of the Scarabaeidae family in English, and is pronounced very much the same as the ancient Egyptian Khepher. So now we have three instances of this word in three European languages, but there may well be others!

We have already established that the Egyptians were great colonists. In the Oera Linda Book, which we mention in several of our articles, we find the history of a Frisian Sage called Nyhellenia who migrated with her followers to Greece and there founded a Frisian colony around 1,600 B.C. The book tells of the many battles the settlers fought to establish themselves, which culminated in the siege of the heavily fortified Frisian citadel by an army of the native inhabitants. The Frisians were befriended by an Egyptian high priest, who, although he was ostensibly on the opposing side, was not unfriendly to the colonists and shared many of their moral and religious beliefs. The book describes him as "bright of eye, clear of brain and enlightened of mind," and gives his name as Cecrops. Now, on the face of it this does not sound like an Egyptian word, but as we have seen in this investigation, it requires careful analysis to uncover the origin of such words. If we consult the original Frisian text of the Oera Linda Book, we find that the Egyptian priest's name is rendered Sêkrops, not Cecrops.

This is too close to such Egyptian words as Seker, Sekhri and Sekh-ra to be a coincidence. Seker was the ancient Egyptian god of the Dead, whilst Sekh-ra is encountered in several papyri where he appears as a god of the other world. An even closer match is the word Sek-hra, who was one of the gods who ferried the souls of the righteous to the upper Egyptian heaven (Papyrus of Nu, chapter 136b), whilst Sekhet-Ra was the name of the shining fields of the Sun-God. So we may be tolerably sure that Sekh-ra, Sek-hra or Sekhet-Ra was the Egyptian name of the benevolent and wise priest the Frisians rendered as Sêkrops.

Sekh-ra, as we shall call him, was evidently a most enlightened ruler, for the book tells us he was renowned for his wisdom and virtue among the native inhabitants and Frisian colonists alike, and that he permitted them to live according to their own laws. Could there be a more telling portrait of a genuine Egyptian Initiate than this? Nor can he have been an isolated case of the ancient Egyptians spreading their civilized culture and wisdom across Europe, for, as we have seen, we find traces of it everywhere we look. Sadly, when Sekh-ra died, wise rulership and virtuous laws died with him, the Frisian colony was abandoned, and the country rapidly descended into apostasy and disorder, much as the British Isles did after the departure of the Egyptian colonists. But this is by the way. The importance of this evidence lies in the close coincidence of the date (given as ca. 1,600 B.C. in the Oera Linda Book) with the era of Egyptian colonisation of England, and the presence of a powerful Egyptian ruler in Greece at approximately the same time prior to the rise of the Mycenaean civilization.


As we intimated earlier, it has always been our intention to write more about the Egyptian colonists in future. That aim was fulfilled in 2019, when we published the first article of a new three-part investigation into the migrations of the Atlanteans and the colonies they founded around the world. In our customary afterword to this investigation we discuss the Oera Linda Book in much greater depth, which our regular readers will recall we briefly reviewed in our first article about the Lost Continent. Readers who are interested in exploring the rich legacy of Atlantis and the Ancient Wisdom contained in the Oera Linda Book further, will be sure to enjoy this new investigation.

Meanwhile, if you have enjoyed this article you should find much to interest you in our investigation of Stonehenge and the Mystery of the Druids. One reason we have written these articles is to encourage you to do your own research, for there is nothing more profitable to the mind than study in a good cause for a good purpose.


© Copyright Article published 26 April 2016. Updated 16 July 2023.

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