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St Olave's Church, London

4.6
#103 of 266 in Historic Sites in London
St Olave Hart Street is a Church of England church in the City of London, located on the corner of Hart Street and Seething Lane near Fenchurch Street railway station.John Betjeman described St Olave's as "a country church in the world of Seething Lane." The church is one of the smallest in the City and is one of only a handful of medieval City churches that escaped the Great Fire of London in 1666. In addition to being a local parish church, St Olave's is the Ward Church of the Tower Ward of the City of London.HistoryThe church is first recorded in the 13th century as St Olave-towards-the-Tower, a stone building replacing the earlier construction. It is dedicated to the patron saint of Norway, King Olaf II of Norway, who fought alongside the Anglo-Saxon King Ethelred the Unready against the Danes in the Battle of London Bridge in 1014. He was canonised after his death and the church of St Olave's was built apparently on the site of the battle. The Norwegian connection was reinforced during the Second World War when King Haakon VII of Norway worshipped there while in exile.Saint Olave's was rebuilt in the 13th century and then again in the 15th century. The present building dates from around 1450. According to John Stow's Survey of London, a major benefactor of the church in the late 15th century was wool merchant Richard Cely Sr., who held the advowson on the church . On his death, Cely bequeathed money for making the steeple and an altar in the church. The merchant mark of the Cely family was carved in two of the corbels in the nave . No memorial to the Celys now remains in the church.
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St Olave's Church Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
33 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Had a short but relaxing visit to see this church before I was out to dinner Well worth a pop in to see this fascinating church  more »
  • I like going to lunch-time recitals so picked St Olave’s church which is on Hart Street. Interesting neighborhood since it’s a financial, business area so not many tourists but it was lunchtime with l...  more »
Google
  • I come here during lunch for some peace and quiet and when I need to think and meditate. Especially during fasting or important periods in the Christian calendar like lent. Sometimes they have activities like an orchestra which was really entertaining and calming. Bibles and Christian books are available if you like to read them as you sit in. Thanks for opening the gates of this church to us all.
  • A lovely little church dating from the 11th century, what a gem! I come here for free classical recitals during lunchtime. There's also a small crypt and a garden with very old gravestones. Great place to relax, get away from it all and reconnect, at the very heart of the city!
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