Bayle Heritage

Our local history pages

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!
The photograph below of a view across the town was kindly provided by Ian Gordon and is thought to have been taken in the 1930s from the Church tower.

One of the most extraordinary figures in our history is the young St Eanswythe, patron saint of our local church: 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!

We hope you will also enjoy browsing the two articles listed below:

Local history information panels in The Bayle

The series of information panels listed below can be found in and around The Bayle as public plaques installed as part of a project initiated by The Bayle Residents Association.
The most recent was installed in late 2020, as part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations – and marks the original site of the Priory House on what is now called The Parade. Simply click on any of the titles to skip to the panel of interest to you….

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