fonds PR/Y/OL - Parish records of York, St Olave

Identity area

Reference code



Parish records of York, St Olave


  • 1538-2002 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

0.45 cubic metres

32 boxes

Context area

Name of creator

(fl 11th century-)

Administrative history

The church of St Olave, Marygate, was founded prior to 1055 and was given to Alan, Earl of Brittany, at the time of the Norman Conquest. In 1086 Earl Alan gave it to the monk, Stephen of Whitby, as a foundation grant for what would become St Mary’s Abbey, York.

Work on the abbey began in 1089 and the Benedictine community there were closely linked to St Olave’s throughout the medieval period, providing its chaplain until at least the late 15th century. The rights of the abbey over parishioners of St Olave’s were the subject of a grant dated 1161-1184 and attempts to make the parish fully independent were successfully resisted by St Mary’s in 1390. At this time, the parish is believed to have included parts of Clifton, Rawcliffe and Heworth.

Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the sixteenth century, the Crown granted the advowson and rectory of St Olave’s to the Archbishop of York. In 1578 it was granted to Thomas Eyms and then to Sir Christopher Hatton in 1586, before passing to the Robinson family in the 17th century. In 1586 the parish was united to that of St Giles Gillygate and in 1767 and 1786 the benefice was augmented through Queen Anne’s Bounty. It later received additional funds from the parliamentary fund in 1810 and 1814.

By the 19th century the patronage of St Olave was held by the de Grey family, who retained it until 1871 when it returned to the Archbishop in exchange for an advowson outside of York. At some point between 1764 and 1825 the parish of Fulford was created, in part from a chapelry of St Olave, and in 1855 another part of the parish was severed with the creation of St Thomas’ parish.

In 1870 a further part of the parish was transferred to the new consolidated chapelry of Holy Trinity, Heworth, and in the following year it lost another part to the consolidated chapelry of St Philip and St James, reducing it further. In 1910, St Luke the Evangelist, a chapel of ease for St Thomas’s parish on Burton Stone Lane, separated from St Thomas and was united with St Olave until 1930 when it formed its own separate parish.

The parish church of St Olave dates to the twelfth century. It was largely rebuilt in c.1466-1470, and the arcades and south aisle rebuilt in 1721-1722. The chancel was rebuilt in 1887-1889 by George Fowler Jones and the south vestry was added in 1898 by James Demaine and Walter Brierley. The stained glass includes work by J. W. Knowles of York and Harry Stammers.

Today the parish is known as St Olave with St Giles.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The archive was deposited at the Borthwick Institute in 1963 by the incumbent. Further additions were made to the archive in 1984, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2003 and 2006.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Includes register of christenings, 1538-1954 (note this register uses the Dade registration scheme for the years 1770-1812); register of marriages, 1538-1962; register of burials, 1538-1854 (note this register uses the Dade registration scheme for the years 1770-1812); register of banns, 1755-1767, 1951-1974; register of services, 1869-1989; register of dates of birth of children baptised at St Olave's and living in the parish, 1948-1959; records concerning benefice income, including sequestration order, 1962; churchwardens’ records, including accounts, 1788-1890, 1905-1915, 1944-1958, 1963-1967, assessments, 1771-1843, 1866-1902, fabric papers, 1899-1984, and meeting papers, 1920-1922; constables’ records, including Clifton township accounts, 1680-1858; records of incumbents, including letter of recollections of boyhood in parish, pre 1884, leave of absence from cure, 1891, and parsonage house papers, 1927, 1932; overseers’ records, including Clifton township accounts, 1680-1858, St Giles accounts, 1748-1832, St Giles rates, 1829-1837, St Giles settlement papers, 1737-1837, and apprenticeship register, 1827-1833; records concerning parish rooms and societies, including parish room committee minutes of meetings, 1892-1919, choir attendance registers, 1908-1956, parish hall papers, 1982, Mothers' Union and Women's Fellowship, minute book, 1971-1985, and Church of England Men's Society, St Olave's branch, minutes of meetings and papers, 1964-1972; surveyors’ records, including Clifton township accounts, 1680-1858, and St Giles accounts, 1763-1824; Vestry/Parochial Church Council records, including minutes of meetings, 1748-1770, 1774-1880, 1920-1974, annual reports and financial statements, 1999-2000, accounts and financial papers, 1942-1989, letter about new parish of Sts Philip and James, 1971, Clifton township minutes of meetings, 1680-1858, and St Giles minutes of meetings, 1748-1832; parish magazine of St Olave and St Giles (includes St Luke from 1912), 1893-1990; ‘The History of St Olave’s Church, York’ by H.E.C. Stapleton, 2002.


Further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Records are open to the public, subject to the overriding provisions of relevant legislation, including data protection laws. 24 hours' notice is required to access photographic material.

Conditions governing reproduction

A reprographics service is available to researchers subject to the access restrictions outlined above. Copying will not be undertaken if there is any risk of damage to the document. Copies are supplied in accordance with the Borthwick Institute for Archives' terms and conditions for the supply of copies, and under provisions of any relevant copyright legislation. Permission to reproduce images of documents in the custody of the Borthwick Institute must be sought.

Language of material

  • English
  • Latin

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A typescript finding aid, to file level, is available for consultation in the searchroom of the Borthwick Institute. This includes all material received up to and including 2006.

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Selected records, including registers of christenings, 1538-1923, marriages, 1538-1933, and burials, 1538-1854, church rate and vestry minutes, 1719-1884, church assessments, 1785-1817, and church rate assessments, 1818-1845, 1866-1901, are also available on microfilm at the Borthwick Institute (References: MF 864-867, 1783, MFB 2018).

Related units of description

For related material held by the Borthwick Institute, see the parish records of York, St Lawrence which include a letter concerning the removal of St Olave's church organ to St Lawrence Church, 1907.

Publication note

Yorkshire Parish Register Society, 'The parish registers of St Olave, York. 1538-1644.' Transcribed and edited by Walter Jenkinson Kaye and H. Harrison (Leeds, 1923).

Yorkshire Archaeological Society, 'The parish registers of St Olave, York. 1650-1785.' Transcribed and edited by Norman Pace and Barbara Whitehead (Leeds, 1993).

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

GB 193

Rules and/or conventions used

ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description, International Council on Archives (2nd edition, 2000); Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names, National Council on Archives (1997).

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by S. A. Shearn, 26.11.15




Accession area