Lady Oliva was the founder of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in the late 12th Century. She was the daughter of Alan Fitz-Jordan and his wife Joan, sister to Jordan Fitz-Jordan and Alicia Fitz-Alan. Lady Oliva’s sister Alicia, the wife of William Espin, inherited her father’s estates in Britanny, whilst Oliva inherited those in England, and was Lady of Tuxford, Kirton, Warsop, and of Oswaldbeck and other manors. The manor of Oswald- beck Soke was originally a Wapentake, comprising what is now known as the North Clay Division, and Sturton Le Steeple is the chief place in it, and the principal church known as “the Minster of the Clays,” was selected as the place of her burial.
Lady Oliva was married twice, firstly to Robert de St. John in 1179 and secondly to Roger de Montbegon in 1200. She had no children and died about 1236.
During the restoration of the Church in 1870 the lid of Lady Oliva’s coffin was found laying face down on the north side of the chancel. This shows a recumbent figure of a lady, with her feet on a lion, Colour still remained on it, red especially, and the following inscription was along the sides in Lango-bardic characters:—
MATER : OPIS : VIVA : on one side, and PER : TE : SALVETUR : OLIVA on the other.
This coffin lid is now displayed inside the Church under the Tower.