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"In Fore Street is an odd misshapen little church, S. Olave's. This was endowed by Gytha, sister of Sweyn, the Danish king, and wife of the Earl Godwin. She was the mother of Harold. She is said to have endowed it (1053) that prayer might be offered for the soul of her husband, and in honour of Olaf, King of Norway, who had fallen in battle in 1030. As S. Olaf fought against the Danes, and it was through the machinations of Canute that he came to his end, it is hard to see how a Danish lady should have felt any enthusiasm about Olaf, who was regarded as a saint and a martyr by the national Norwegian party, which was bitterly opposed to the Danish. I suspect that the church already existed, and was dedicated to S. Gwynllyw of Gwent, who at Newport was converted into Olave, by the English speaking colonists." [From Devon, by S. Baring-Gould, 1899.]

The parish is in the old walled City of Exeter, to the south of St Mary Arches. Its population in 1801 was 576.


Transcription of the 1861 Census entries for an un-named school in Mint Street by Betsy Rubel.

Church History

St Olave's was also known as the "French Church", as it was used in part by the French Huguenot congregation of Exeter ca 1685-1738.

Exeter St Olave - from J. Stabb. Some Old Devon Churches (London: 1908-16).

Nesbitt, F. Rectors of Exeter Churches: St Olave's. Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries 17 (1932-33), pp. 172-176.

Church Records

Parish Registers going back to 1601 are held in the Devon Record Office - for details see Parish Registers in the Devon Record Office.

Transcripts of the Parish Registers going back to 1601 are held in a special collection in the Westcountry Studies Library - for details see Parish Registers in the Devon & Cornwall Record Society's Collection.

The Devon FHS publishes indexes covering (as of June 2004): Marriages 1813-1837, Burials 1813-1837 - for details see their book list.

Entered into the IGI (as of Jan 1993): Parish Church Christenings 1601-1838, Marriages 1601-1754, 1815-1837.

The Deanery of Christianity [The City Of Exeter] CD018, Devon Family History Society (2008). [Allhallows Goldsmith Street: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1561-1837), Burials (1813-1904); Allhallows on the Walls: Baptisms (1824-1839), Marriages (1805-1811 and 1836), Burials (1824-1837); Bedford Precinct: Baptisms (1833-1839), Marriages (1833-1839); Exeter Cathedral: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1755-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Holy Trinity: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. David: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Edmund: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. George: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. John: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Kerrian: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1810-1837), Burials (1813-1838); St. Lawrence: Baptisms (1813-1837), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Leonard: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1755-1837), Burials (1780-1837); St. Martin: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1836), Burials (1813-1837); St. Mary Arches: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Mary Major: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Mary Steps: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Olave: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1816-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Pancras: Baptisms (1813-1840), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1800-1837); St. Paul: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1562-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Petrock: Baptisms (1813-1842), Marriages (1754-1836), Burials (1770-1837); St. Sidwell: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); St. Stephen: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Heavitree: Baptisms (1813-1839), Marriages (1754-1837), Burials (1813-1837); Exeter Non-conformist chapels - Bow Meeting House: Burials (1748-1824); Castle Street Independent Chapel: Burials (1800-1836); George Meeting House Presbyterian: Burials (1818-1822 and 1837); Mint Meeting House Presbyterian: Burials (1709 and 1773-1810); Mint Methodist Chapel: Burials (1818-1829); South Street Baptist Church: Burials (1783-1837); Photographs of the churches and extracts from White's Devonshire Directory 1850].

Names, Personal

Militia List (1803) for St Olave, transcribed by Iris Sutton.


Window Tax records for 1740-41 are held by the Devon Record Office.

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Last updated 14 Jul 2015 - Brian Randell.

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