St Olaves Church


St Olaves Church

Dr Peter Turner bust returns to St Olave's Church after robbery

Location: 8 Hart Street, City of London, EC3R 7NB

Description: St Olave's is one of the few surviving medieval buildings in The City of London and the burial place of Samuel Pepys. It was originally called St Olave-towards-the-Tower back in the 14th century.

St Olave is 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. After his death he was canonised. The church was thought to have been built on the site of the battle.

John Betjeman described St Olave's as a country church in the world of Seething Lane. Charles Dickens called it Ghastly Grim for its triple-skull memento mori over the churchyard entrance.

With many links to historic City organisations, this little church is sought after by many as a place of spiritual encounter and refreshment.

A sculpture looted from the church during the Blitz was returned to its former home in July 2011 after 70 years.

Note the grand blue plaque on the wall in the churchyard commemorating playwright William Shakespeare living at the nearby residence of Christopher and Mary Mountjoy in 1604.

The bust of Dr Peter Turner, an eminent physician and botanist, was taken from St Olave's in the City of London on 17 April 1941. The sculpture, dating from 1614, was recovered by a curator at the Museum of London, who found out about an upcoming auction listing the statue in 2010. The Art Loss Register investigated and the bust was removed from the sale.

The bust, worth an estimated 70,000 pounds, was traced back to several owners across Europe, including one in the Netherlands. Investigators believe the bust was stolen during an air raid.

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St Olaves Church

Dr Peter Turner bust returns to St Olave's Church after robbery

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