Our Local History

The Story of St Eanswythe

The history of The Bayle is bound up with periods of great significance in British History: from the prehistoric hippo in Folkestone Museum – whose pelvis was found where the top of Bail Steps is now! – through Bronze age and Roman settlements, to the Napoleonic Wars, we’ve seen it all here!

One of the most extraordinary figures in our history is the young St Eanswythe, patron saint of our local church, which is the only church in the country to hold the relics of the saint which the church is named after – an exciting discovery in 2020, resulting from studies including carbon dating.

Although exact dates are the subject of a degree of uncertainty, this study would indicate that her birth was somewhere around c635-640 and her death c 660-663.

Her relics were moved to the current church site in 1138 (the current chancel – the eastern section). This building was destroyed by fire c 1216 when presumably the relics were removed and re-interred in the new building from c 1217 – making the current period the 800th anniversary of construction. 

The Priory itself was dissolved in 1535/6 and the relics were hidden in the north wall of the chancel and disappeared from public view – being rediscovered in 1885 – 135 years ago.   

To find our more about this work, click here to see the Finding Eanswythe website – it’s fascinating!

Local history information panels in The Bayle

We hope you will enjoy browsing some of the articles in this section: the series of information panels can also be found on a series of public information plaques installed in and around The Bayle as part of a project initiated by The Bayle Residents Association.

Simply click on any of the titles to skip to the article of interest….