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Olney (in the U.K county of Buckinghamshire)attracts many U.K and overseas visitors - and we will be delighted to welcome you here!

Amongst the considerable crowd for the annual Pancake Race (held on Shrove Tuesday in February) you'll hear many different languages being spoken. The event is full of English colour.


The Cowper and Newton museum is a particular interest to visitors. It also organises an excellent walking tours and events.  

For our American visitors in particular, the draw to Olney is the legacy of John Newton. His conversion to Christianity followed a great storm when he was a seafarer. He became the rector in Olney. A stained glass window in the church of St.Peter and St.Paul depicts his ship and also has his portrait as rector.


Having once been a slave-trader, his conversion turned him into a prominent voice in the abolitionist movement. He was also the author of one of the most beautiful hymns ever written: "Amazing Grace".

With the poet William Cowper, also resident in the town, he wrote the "Olney hymns". The current rector is delighted to welcome you if you'd like to join a service at Olney's St.Peter & St.Paul (as do the congregations of our 3 other churches, please see Information).

You may also like to know that while you are here, a trip to Bedford (only 11 miles away) will allow you to trace the life of John Bunyan, author of Pilgrims Progress who preached - and was imprisoned for his beliefs - in the town.

You can find out more at the Cowper and Newton museum (which has an exhibition on slavery), the John Bunyan museum and Olney history links on the site. 


The museum is on Olney's Market Place at Orchard Side house, which has international renown for its links to the creation of the hymn 'Amazing Grace' and its other literary and historic links. But it also aims to tell a wider story about 18th Century life. 

 he museum, with recent significant lottery investment, is the site of the home from of William Cowper from 1768 to 1786. The 18th century poet.  

 Rooms feature numerous personal artefacts and belongings, and reveal his sense of humour, the highs and lows in his life and his love of gardening and animals  – especially his pet hares.

His great friendship with John Newton is also reflected for the profound impact it had on both men. Newton’s life and personal experience inspired him to write the world’s most famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ here in Olney.  

The time as a slave ship captain and as a captive himself is movingly captured. His repulsion at his earlier role led him - now as curate of the parish church - to became involved in the abolition of slavery; he was a spiritual influence on William Wilberforce.

Wherever you come from we hope the site will entice you to pay us a visit here in Olney. Even if we said it before: Welcome! 

N.B to dial any number in Olney from abroad you need + 44 (country code) 1234 (area code) + number


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.

See full details...

 Location: in Olney