The Viper Barn and Courtyard

Start your visit in the newly renovated Viper Barn where William encountered the Viper which inspired him to write his mock-heroic poem ‘The Colubriad’. The Viper Barn includes an interactive display screen that offers an introductory video and information about each of the rooms.

Don’t miss: The stone carving from the ‘Lace Factory’ in the Courtyard and the view across the gardens to the spire of Olney Church.

‘Close by the threshold of a door nailed fast Three kittens sat; each kitten looked aghast; I passing swift and inattentive by, At the three kittens cast a careless eye, Not much concerned to know what they did there, Not deeming kittens worth a poet’s care. But presently a loud and furious hiss Caused me to stop and to exclaim, ‘What’s this?’ When lo! upon the threshold met my view, With head erect, and eyes of fiery hue, A viper, …’ 

– ‘The Colubriad, by William Cowper

Artefacts to find in this room

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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)