It was once the western tower of the church of St Eloi, from which it is now separated by a street.
St Eloi, erected about 1560 in the Gothic style, was deprived of its first two bays in the 18th century; the present façade dates from 1889.
Dunkirk is said to have originated in a chapel founded by St Eloi in the 7th century, round which a small village speedily sprang up. In the 10th century it was fortified by Baldwin III., count of Flanders; together with that province it passed successively to Burgundy, Austria and Spain.
Dagobert protected the church and placed illustrious prelates at the head of the bishoprics - Eloi (Eligius) at Noyon, Ouen (Audoenus) at Rouen, and Didier (Desiderius) at Cahors.
Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury (925-988), like Bernward, bishop of Hildesheim a few years later, and St Eloi of France three centuries earlier, was himself a skilful worker in all kinds of metal.