Olney, at the very north of the county of Buckinghamshire, retains its old world charm despite an increase in population due to the expansion of nearby Milton Keynes.
Olney is famous for its pancake race run on Shrove Tuesday from the market place to the parish church of St Peter and St Paul, whose lofty 180 ft spire is a well known landmark. The popular hymn Amazing Grace was written by John Newton, the ex-slave trader, when curate of Olney as part of the Olney Hymns, in conjunction with the poet William Cowper who lived here from 1767 to 1786.

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Memories of Olney

Religious refugees, fleeing from the Low Countries and France in the 16th and 17th centuries, brought their lacemaking craft with them and taught the local women of North Buckinghamshire, and it soon became the cottage industry of the small market town of Olney. The poet, William Cowper, while resident in Olney, recorded in a letter dated 1780 that there were "very near 1,200 lacemakers" employed in the town.

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Education Provision 1833

Olney Parish (Pop. 2,344)

Three Daily Schools ; one of which (commenced 1819) contains 40 males ; another (commenced 1827) 46 males; these Schools are supported by voluntary contributions; in the other, 25 males and 19 females are instructed at
the expense of their parents.

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Notes on Olney

Description of Olney from J.J. Sheahan, 1861.

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