The Cowper & Newton Museum is a treasure trove of fascinating personal belongings and stories, set in a historic Georgian building and gardens on the Market Place in Olney.

The museum also offers education visits for schools and a range of talks that can be given to clubs and societies.

William Cowper

William Cowper

The renowned poet William Cowper (pronounced “Cooper”) was born in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.  He was the son of the Reverend John Cowper and Ann, daughter of Roger Donne of Ludham Hall, Norfolk.

Page from the first edition of the Olney Hymns hymn book showing the first verse of Faith's Review and Expectation now known by its first line as Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

‘Amazing Grace’ is one of the most beloved hymns of the last two centuries.  It was penned by the Rev. John Newton during his time here in Olney.  The hymn forms part of ‘The Olney Hymns’, a hymn book written by William Cowper and John Newton.

John Newton

John Newton

John Newton lived in Olney for nearly 16 years (1764 to 1779) as curate-in-charge of the parish church, St Peter & St Paul.   While he resided in Olney his writings became known worldwide.

Museum History

The museum history shows ‘The Cowper Memorial Museum and Library’ was opened in 1900, but within a few years became known as ‘The Cowper & Newton Museum’. The museum was largely the creation of Thomas Wright, who worked tirelessly to raise local and national awareness of Olney’s heritage.

Articles and News

Keep up to date with local events, interesting articles, news stories and much more from the Cowper & Newton Museum. Not only is the museum steeped in fascinating history and culture, but also keep up to date with the latest exhibitions from talented local artists at The Three Hares Gallery.

Museum Library & Archive

The museum contains a comprehensive collection of early editions of the works of William Cowper and John Newton. Many of the books were collected by Thomas Wright of Olney, the founder of the museum.

Learning Programme

Our learning programme welcomes schools & young people to the Cowper & Newton Museum – a treasure trove of fascinating personal belongings and stories, set in a historic Georgian building and gardens on the Market Place in Olney.

Museum Talks

We have a range of talks we can give to your clubs & societies. Our talks include 'The Lives of William Cowper and John Newton', 'Georgian Olney: A Time Travellers Guide', 'The Story of Lace' plus many more

Cowper & Newton Journal

The Cowper & Newton Journal includes scholarly articles, notes and reviews on Cowper, Newton and their contemporaries, as well as more general articles from the 18th century.

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Book Museum Tickets

Our Museum building remains CLOSED.  We are opening our gardens on limited entry.  The Cowper & Newton Museum gardens will be open to welcome you on Wednesday 5th August 10.30 – 12.15 and Saturday 8th August 10.30 – 12.15

(Follow our social media accounts or check back here for further opening days & times as they become available)