History - Introduction to History
Folkestone and its surrounding area have a deep and rich past; people have inhabited its landscape for millennia. Our project has focused on Eanswythe and her history, which begins in the middle of the 7th century AD. Follow the links below to find out more.
The Anglo-Saxon period spans the fifth to eleventh centuries AD in England. The Northumbrian monk and historian Bede, writing in the early eighth century, records that the ancestors of the English were drawn from three peoples, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, who settled southern and eastern Britain during the fifth century. (image: Anglo-Saxon mould for decorative metalwork found on The Bayle, 2005)
Folkestone Minster was never a particularly large or wealthy house and it left very few traces in the historical record, especially during the Anglo-Saxon period. There are sporadic references to the minster as a landowner and some of the abbesses who (very occasionally) attested royal charters might have been mistress of the minster but the period is mainly a blank that historians have attempted to fill with a mixture of ingenious speculation and sheer guesswork. (image: reconstruction of 13th century priory by W. H. Elgar, 1921)
The church in Folkestone at the time of the English Reformation was flourishing and we can only imagine how colourful and richly decorated the interior of the church would have looked then, with a number of altars and shrines and many statues and wall paintings. (image: illustration from John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, 1563)
Matthew Woodward became Vicar of Folkestone in 1851 at the age of 26. Much has been written about this man; his vision and his character, most notably by Tony Shepherd. As a churchman, Woodward had shifted his allegiance from low church practice towards the tenets of the Oxford Movement; espousing a more sacramental and, to some, a more catholic, approach to liturgy and ministry. (image: interior of Parish Church c.1890)