8 Hart St
St Olave’s is one of the last surviving medieval churches in London. The site is said to have been established in the 11th century. The church is dedicated to Saint Olave or Olaf who support Ethelred the Unready in the Battle of London Bridge in 1014. The building could have been built on the site of the battle. St Olave survived the Great Fire of London, the flames reaching to within 100 metres of the area.
The Great Plague of 1665 broke out just a few streets away from the church, and around 300 victims were interred in the churchyard. Their names were marked with a ‘p’ for ‘plague’ in the register of burials. Mary Ramsay, popularly credited with bringing the plague to London, was buried in the churchyard on 24 July 1665.
Samuel Pepys who wrote a vivid first-hand account on the Great Fire of London was buried here. Charles Dickens describes the church as ‘St Ghastly Grim’, referring to the gargoyles on the churchyard gate. The church has a memorial Monkhouse Davison and Abraham Newman who were the merchants whose cargo was emptied off their ship during the ‘Boston Tea Party’ of 1773.
The church was badly damaged in the Blitz however was rededicated in the presence of King Haakon VII of Norway.
The churchyard provides a quiet space with benches, a herb garden and labyrinth.
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