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Folkestone Saint remains.jpg
Diocese of Canterbury
Folkestone Saint remains.jpg
Diocese of Canterbury
World News

England’s earliest saint seeks new home

by Sophie Drew

A church in Kent is looking for an artist to design a new reliquary to house the remains of England’s earliest saint.

The owner of the remains – St Eanswythe – was discovered almost two years ago, but the box in which she has resided since the 19th Century is no longer fit for purpose.

The Patron Saint of Folkestone was the granddaughter of the first king to convert to Christianity. She herself is believed to have founded one of the earliest monastic communities on English soil, despite dying just as she reached adulthood.

Now, the Diocese of Canterbury is urging creatively-minded individuals to submit their designs for a container – and contemporary designs are encouraged.

All submissions need to be entered by 1st March 2023 in order to be reviewed. From there, the winning design will be commissioned and a fundraising effort with ensue.

"Eanswythe will always belong in Folkestone - and she will always be a part of this church," said Dr Andrew Richardson, FSA, from Isle Heritage.

"But she needs a new 'home' within that home. The lead container in which her relics were found in 1885 is an important artefact in its own right, but it is now very fragile and no longer suitable to house her remains.

“So, we're looking to commission the creation of a new reliquary fit for a Kentish royal saint - one that will protect and preserve these relics for generations to come."

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