Restoration PRoject

The Capponi Memorial Stone

Help us preserve an important part of our history

Capponi ledger stone showing the Van Thielt Memorial.

We plan to restore and re-install a unique 16th century stone memorial slab which survived both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz.  It tells a fascinating story of the life and times of St Olave’s church and of one man who lived and died in the City over four centuries ago. 

The stone commemorates Piero Capponi, a Florentine merchant and banker, who worked for Elizabeth I’s spymaster, Francis Walsingham. Capponi was buried in St Olave’s after dying of the plague in 1582. 

The stone, bearing the simple shield of his family, was originally laid in the church near an effigy of Capponi commissioned by one of his friends.  Research has revealed that the stonemason ‘recycled’ the stone. It originally came from the Netherlands and on the reverse is an elaborate Flemish inscription commemorating a merchant named Augustine van Thielt and his family. 

After the church was badly damaged by enemy bombing in 1941, the slab was moved into the churchyard but soon became hidden under soil and plants. It was rediscovered in 2012, partly broken up, and was moved into safe storage.

We now have the opportunity to restore the stone and relocate it close to its original position near Capponi’s monument (more information about which can be found here). A replica of the reverse will be shown alongside.

The cost of this work is £26,000. We have already raised nearly 70% of this sum, thanks to generous donors, but we still need to find £8,000.  Any contribution, however modest, will help us reach this target. Thank you so much.  

Share This Page