Community ID
Alternate Names
Corporate Status
Date Founded
640 or earlier; refounded: 1095 as priory of Benedictine monks. May have been a male community by mid-9th century.
Date Terminated
871 or after
Foundation Information

According to versions of Mildrith legend, was founded by King Eadbald of Kent (d. 640) for his daugther Eanswith. Nunnery certainly existed in 694.

Dependency Of

It was a dependency of Christ Church, Canterbury by 1078/9 or earlier.
In the Chronicis Gerrasii Dorobernensis, in 927, Athelstan, son of Edward gave Folkestone the land above the sea where there was a monastery and abbey of Holy virgins and where Saint Eanswith was buried. The entry indicates that the monastery and abbey of Holy virgins had been destroyed. In 1038, Knut once again gives Folkestone to Christ Church (Dugdale's Monasticon Volume 1, 96, 97).


The Kentish reeve Abba made provisions for his wife to retire at Folkestone. A dispute over Ealdorman Oswulf's inheritance suggests that he was a benefactor (Select English historical documents of the ninth and tenth centuries, No. 2 (S 1482)).

Manuscript Sources

London, British Library, Cotton MS Tiberius A. ii, fos 13v-14r (11th century forged charter of 927)

Miscellaneous Information

According to Foot, though the female community may have disappeared because it fell into royal hands, it is as likely that it disappeared as a result of a Danish attack (See Veiled Women, vol 2, 90-91 for a discussion of the fate of the women's community)

Bruce L. Venarde
Date Started
Date Finished