Welcome to Orchard Side house, which from 1768 to 1786 was the home  of William Cowper, renowned 18th century poet.  Walk back in time through rooms featuring numerous personal artefacts and belongings.  Discover William’s comic sense of humour, the highs and lows in his life and his love of gardening and animals  – especially his pet hares.

Discover how his friend John Newton’s life and personal experience inspired him to write the world’s most famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ here in Olney.  Find out about his time as a slave ship captain, as a captive himself; how he became curate of the parish church, his involvement in the abolition of slavery and his spiritual influence on William Wilberforce.

What is there to explore in Orchard Side house and its gardens?

Simply click the image for an enlarged view. (New Museum guide & illustration coming soon)

© Graphic Design SSHY Creative Ltd. Illustration Simon Yeomans

Don’t miss

William and John’s daily lives and life works in the 18th century rooms of the house.  NEW for 2019 Amazing Grace – John Newton’s Life in Olney

The gardens full of interest and beauty in all seasons

The monthly Art exhibitions in the Three Hares Gallery on the top floor

The renovated Viper Barn in the Courtyard  NEW – Introductory film & new local history display

NEW Georgian Life Room

The Dressing Up Room for fun …

The story of lace in the area and the lace gallery.  Please note:

ADVANCE NOTIFICATION: Lace Room closure for exciting redevelopment: From September 15th 2019 until the end of 2020. If your group would like to see our lace collection, with a few weeks prior notice we can bring some examples out of storage. Our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. (Trustees of the Cowper & Newton Museum).

Children’s craft table as well as Family Fun Trails & Things To Do in the school holidays

Seasonal Teas in the Courtyard

Special Events (see What’s On)


We do hope you enjoy your visit to the Cowper & Newton Museum

As William says ‘Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavour’ .

We do not have our own coffee shop but there are many cafes and restaurants around Market Place or a short walk away.

Olney is a historic market town and well worth exploring during your visit.  You can find out more about the history of the town on the Olney & District Historical Society’s (ODHS) website

For more information about Olney’s shops and market see the online ‘Olney Official Guide‘ or the VisitOlney website