Cowper & Newton Museum
Two great men
The museum celebrates two great men who lived in Olney: the leading 18th Century poet & letter writer William Cowper and his friend, John Newton who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace" (the hymn is quoted on the next page).
John Newton had been a seafarer and slave trader, but became a famous preacher and a spirtual mentor to William Wilberforce, the abolitionist. The museum has a display showing the slave trade and Newton's part in abolition.
The museum also has many belongings of the men which show how they lived, worked and about how their fame spread.
The Cowper & Newton museum is housed in the building that 18th Century poet William Cowper lived and worked in. It has beautiful, well tended gardens and a lovely 18h Century summerhouse (pictured).
More than just Cowper and Newton
There is also a fascinating array of documents, objects and pictures to show how Olney evolved, particularly its past as a centre for lace-making and the boot and shoe industry. A treasure trove of Olney's history through the years.
The town museum is supported by a hardworking team of staff and volunteers who put on an ambitious programme of events during the year.
Disabled access to the museum
There is access for wheelchair users to the garden, and limited access to the house. A portfolio of photographs of the exhibits in the upper rooms is available for those who find the steep stairs from this old building difficult to manage.
Amazing Grace by John Newton
"Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ'd!
Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the vail,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be for ever mine."
By Kind permission of the Cowper and Newton Museum, Olney
Opening hours:Please note that the museum closes in winter to rest the collection.