The examination of St Eanswythe’s relics were the culmination of the Finding Eanswythe project whose home page can be visited here. This is still a work in progress as some tests are still to be completed and there is a wealth of information still to be added to the project web site. In due course the work will be published in book form.
Saint Eanswythe has a Twitter account (more Parish news than historical content).
What Eanswythe means to us: taken from the statement given by Andrew Plested (Churchwarden) given to the Eanswythe Found? event on March 6th 2020, at which the initial results of the examination of the relics were presented.
St Eanswythe has been a regular part of the lives of those of us born and bred in Folkestone and who have worshipped at this Parish Church.
Her memory has been celebrated every year on 12 September, the day that her relics were translated from the old church of St Peter and St Paul into the new church dedicated to St Mary and St Eanswythe on 12 September 1138. She herself had died some 500 years before: as far as we can tell her relics had rested in each of the previous churches which followed her own small nunnery near the place of this new church.
Her saintliness had been obvious to those 7th century Folkestonians amongst whom she and her nuns had worked and prayed. Their active Christian concern for all their fellows was a living witness to the all-embracing love that Christ himself had shown to all in need during his life.
When she died it is not hard to imagine her resting place becoming a centre of pilgrimage and prayer. For the people of Folkestone she embodied Christian hope and assisted in their prayers in the courts of heaven where Christ reigned with his Father.
Such simple faith endured for centuries and inspired the people of Folkestone who soon came to see her as their special saint and advocate in heaven.
Her life and the countless prayers offered down the centuries in this place have permeated these very stones and contribute to the extraordinary atmosphere of holiness and peace in which we can all rejoice today.
Her character – although little or no account of her life was recorded until many years after her death – inspired her nuns and the monks who followed in her footsteps in Folkestone Priory to continue their lives according to the rule of St Benedict.
Her adoption as the Patron Saint of Folkestone and incorporation into the Town Seal fixed her ever more firmly in the life of this town.
As we celebrate her life, we look back on well over 1350 years of history.
Her dedication and faith become the inspiration for our worship and ministry.
Her discipline in worship encourages us in our worship.
Her love for her neighbours drives us to recognise the diverse needs of Folkestonians around us today and use our skills and talents as best we can to support and care for them.
Her presence in the relics preserved in the Shrine in this church’s Sanctuary provide us with a palpable link to the earliest days of the re-Christianisation of England.
Eanswythe is here with us today as she has always been.
We acknowledge her memory and live and work and pray in her presence here in this magnificent church and in our lives lived out in this town.
All our thoughts and prayers this can be drawn together in her collect, prayed here every year on her Feast Day:
Almighty God, by whose grace Eanswythe kindled with the fire of your love,
became a burning and a shining light in the Church:
inflame us with the same spirit of discipline and love,
that we may ever walk before you as children of light;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.