Best approached through the Museum Gardens, this 14th century church, in Marygate, stands on a very ancient ecclesiastical site. Locally pronounced ‘St. Olive’s,’ the dedication betrays its early history as a Viking establishment honouring Olaf, the Norse monarch who embraced Christianity. The local Royal viceroy, Siward, Earl of Northumbria, was buried here in 1055 at the centre of a monastic complex, later taken over by the great nearby Abbey of St. Mary’s.
The church suffered much damage during the Civil War when it was used as a gun emplacement. It was largely rebuilt in 1723. The interior is usually open to the public. It houses a series of beautifully carved stations of the cross, a few fragments of medieval glass, a fine modern font cover, a Royal Arms of Charles I’s elder brother Prince Henry and a memorial to York artist, William Etty.