St. Olave’s History

A Beacon in Swansea

The “old” and the “new” buildings

St. Olave’s-by-the-lake began in 1876 as a mission church of St. Anne’s, Gladstone. It was located at the south end of Windermere near the Queensway. In 1937 a neo-Gothic red brick structure was consecrated on the current site. With its colourful stained-glass windows, carved stone font and sweeping buttresses, it bears little similarity to the original building, but the Celtic cross which topped the original wooden bell tower is embedded in the brick spire facing Windermere.


1920 - A.J. Casson of the Group of Seven paints the “Old Church Swansea”.
1920 – A.J. Casson of the Group of Seven paints the “Old Church Swansea”.

A summarized chart of St. Olave’s is available for download in PDF format here.

“Wood, Stone and Stained Glass, Saint Olave’s Anglican Church, 1886 – 1981” was produced by our third rector, The Reverend Dr. V. D. Wigmore. He describes the origins and dedications of all the windows, font, and components of the chapel. He also provides a historical sketch of the life of Olaf Haraldson, who became Saint Olave, and details our ties with St. Olave’s Hart Street in the London, England business district.

Download it in PDF format here.