The church was founded in the 11th century. Its dedication is to the 11th-century patron saint of Norway, St Olaf. At the time that the church was founded, the area around Lower Bridge Street was largely occupied by Scandinavians, and it is thought that this is the reason for the dedication.
The present church building dates from 1611. In 1841 the parish of St Olave’s was united with that of St Michael’s, and the church closed. The building was restored in 1849 by James Harrison and converted into use as a school. It was declared redundant by the Church of England on 3 October 1972.
The side walls lean outward noticeably. The forecourt at former Row level has sandstone rubble retaining wall with flight of 10 simple stone steps up from St Olave’s Street.
It has since been used as the Chester Revival Centre, a Pentecostal church, and as an exhibition centre but needs a new purpose.