Whilst not geographically central to the parish of Gatcombe, St Olave’s, our pretty 13 century, Norman Church is just a short drive from Chillerton or on a fine day, a lovely walk across the footpath from the top of Brook Lane.
It is a very peaceful place with a beautifully maintained graveyard and a lovingly cared for building.
St Olave’s church was first built in the 13th century to serve the Estur family of Gatcombe house as a chapel. Later the Worsley family owned the manor and gave money to support the church. St Olave was a king of Norway in the 11th century. He was killed in battle. It is not known why he is the patron saint of this church.
Much has changed and been added since the original chapel was built. The tower was a 15th century addition. There are three large 17th century bells reached via a spiral staircase. Below the tower parapet and south door are grotesque carvings. Buttresses were added over many years to help stabilize the walls. In 1910 the porch was rebuilt. The interior vaulting in the church is of modern origin.
To the left of the south door is a stained glass window with an angel on a wheel, said to be the oldest window on the Isle of Wight. The windows in chancel and over the pulpit are by William Morris and his group.
The chancel furniture is modern, while the table on the right side of the altar is Jacobean. There are two monuments in the church. The nave one is to captain Charles Seely, a soldier. There is also a wooden effigy of a crusader under the north side arch. His name is not known.
The font at the back of the church dates from the early church. It is of Purbeck marble lined with lead.
Descriptive text above courtesy of Destinations UK.
Services will be listed in the ‘Local’ section in the County Press and in the monthly Church magazine, which is available at the back of the Church.
Contact Rev Marcus Bagg (Rector) 718908