"In Fore Street is an odd misshapen little church, S. Olave's. This was endowed by Gytha, sister of Sweyn, the Danish king, and wife of the Earl Godwin. She was the mother of Harold. She is said to have endowed it (1053) that prayer might be offered for the soul of her husband, and in honour of Olaf, King of Norway, who had fallen in battle in 1030. As S. Olaf fought against the Danes, and it was through the machinations of Canute that he came to his end, it is hard to see how a Danish lady should have felt any enthusiasm about Olaf, who was regarded as a saint and a martyr by the national Norwegian party, which was bitterly opposed to the Danish. I suspect that the church already existed, and was dedicated to S. Gwynllyw of Gwent, who at Newport was converted into Olave, by the English speaking colonists." [From Devon, by S. Baring-Gould, 1899.]
The parish is in the old walled City of Exeter, to the south of St Mary Arches. Its population in 1801 was 576.