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Home - History

From Roman times, through to Saxon times, mentions in the Domesday Book and The Battle of Olney in 1643... Olney really is an historic town.

Lace making, along with shoemaking had its part to play in Olney's history in the 18th and 19th Century. Then, Olney was a poor community hit by outbreaks of cholera and smallpox.

Olney now is famous for the pancake race established many hundreds of years ago, and for its connections to the slave trader turned abolitionist John Newton and the poet William Cowper.

 

A Town Called Olnei

People have lived in Olney from Roman times and it was mentioned in a Charter of 979 AD as Ollanege & the Doomesday Book as Olnei. The Battle of Olney was in 1643 and the town once suffered a great fire.

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Lace making

You can still see traces of the history of lace making in Olney in some of the buildings dotted around the town... and there is still lace making in Olney.

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St Peter and St Paul

Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul is where slave trader turned abolitionist John Newton – author of the hymn Amazing Grace – served as curate. Stained glass windows commemorate his conversion during a storm at sea.

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 Location: in Olney

 

 

 

 

 

Architecture of Olney

The buildings of Olney take you on a journey through the Centuries.

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Cowper & Newton Museum

Celebrating 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". Closes during the winter.

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 Location: in Olney

 

 

 

 

 

Olney Historical Society

Keeping the history of Olney alive.

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 Location: in Olney

 

 

 

 

 

The Other Olney Traditions

It isn't just the pancake race that's a long standing tradition. The Olney duck and raft races at the end of June have a loyal following too. And the Cherry Fayre has lot of history too...

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 Location: in Olney