St Olave

First mentioned in the 12th century, some fabric of the 1270 church remains, including the crypt.

About this church

The usual entrance is from Hart Street, with the floor well below street level. The aisles and tower date from the mid 15th century.

On the south side of the church there is an atmospheric churchyard and the visitor will find this is the best viewing point to see the exterior of the building.

This was the parish church of Samuel Pepys; he is buried here and a memorial bust of his wife gazes towards the former Navy Office gallery where he once sat.

St Olave's largely escaped the Great Fire thanks to Pepys and William Penn Sr (father of the founder of Pennsylvania), who created firebreaks around it.

Although the church was gutted by firebombs in 1941, it was restored in 1951'54, successfully retaining an atmosphere both intimate and antique.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • National heritage here
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard
  • Café within 500m

Other nearby churches

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All Hallows by the Tower

The Saxon Abbey of Barking was built in 675 on the site of a Roman building, traces can be seen in its Crypt Museum.

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Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula

Historical documents refer to St Peter's as a Royal Chapel as early as the 12th century, yoday it is a Chapel Royal and it is a Royal Peculiar; directly under the jurisdiction of The Queen.

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St Helen

The present church contains a fragment of a 13th century nuns choir that was constructed alongside a pre-existing parish church, which explains its unusual shape: there are two parallel naves, with a line of arches and a screen separating the two original structures.

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