Olney

Introduction

Church: St Peter and St Paul

Hundred: Newport

Poor Law District: Newport Pagnell

Size (acres): 901

Easting & Northing: 488251

Grid Ref SP880510 Click to see map

Names

Names & Places

NameTypeNote
Olney PARISH St Peter and St Paul
Olnei NAMES name for Olney in Domesday Book 1086
Oulney NAMES name for Olney in 1658
Baptist NON-CONFORMIST First Mentioned: c1690. Rebuilt 1893
Congregational NON-CONFORMIST Cowper Memorial Church. First Mentioned: 1699. Present building 1879 (restored after fire 1965)
Particular Baptist NON-CONFORMIST First Mentioned: 1863
Olney Hyde PLACE within the parish
Warrington PLACE within the parish

 

Population

Population

These population figures are based on the Census results. The boundaries are those used in the particular census which may vary over time..

Note Olney
1801 2003
1811 2195
1821 2266
1831 2344
1841 2362
1851 2265
1861 2284
1871 2672
1881 2362
1891 2409
1901 2705
1911 2891
1921 2662
1931 2445
1941 N/A
1951 2346
1961 2391
1971 2754
1981 3463
1991 4804

There was no census in 1941.

Records

Records

Parish  Church  Register  Start
Date  
End
Date  
Online
Search  
E-Mail
Search  
Publication  
Olney   United Reformed Church   Baptisms   1783   1859   Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here
 
Not available
Olney   United Reformed Church   Baptisms   1870   1894   Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here
 
Not available
Olney   Baptist   Baptisms   1752   1767   Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here
 
Not available
Olney   St Peter & St Paul   Baptisms   1575   1901   Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here
Olney   St Peter & St Paul   Marriages   1575   1901   Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here
Olney   Baptist   Burials   1775   1794   Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here
 
Not available
Olney   United Reformed Church   Burials   1902   1946   Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here
 
Not available
Olney   St Peter & St Paul   Burials   1575   1901   Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here
 
Yes,
click here

 

Surnames

Surnames

These were extracted from our own records and presented as a guide.

PositionBefore 1700  18th Century  19th Century  Overall Surnames  
1 KNIGHT ROBINSON SMITH SMITH
2 OSBORNE HINDE COLES KNIGHT
3 ABRAHAM FREEMAN WRIGHT FREEMAN
4 ASHBURNER KNIGHT FREEMAN HINDE
5 FREEMAN SMITH HINDE ROBINSON
6 ANDREW ABRAHAM FIELD COLES
7 ROBINSON KITCHINER BOSWELL ABRAHAM
8 CLIFTON OSBORNE KNIGHT BOSWELL
9 LAUGHTON BRITTAIN HARRIS HARRIS
10 MORGAN HARRIS PERKINS WRIGHT

 

Notes

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.

The poet's house on the market place is now a museum containing the artifacts of Cowper and Newton as well as housing a collection of hand-made pillow lace, once an important cottage industry here, but now revived as a hobby/craft.
Today Olney has become the sort of place people like to wander around for an afternoon out. It has numerous antique shops, reproduction furniture showrooms, a good bookshop as well as the museum.


Article written by members of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes for the publication "The Buckinghamshire Village Book" (1987) and reproduced here with their permission

Notes

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.

By this time local traders had taken to stocking the thread, parchment patterns and pins that were needed for lace manufacture. These middlemen became wealthy lace dealers, making money at the poor cottagers’ expense, and many of the large houses in Olney were built with the profits of the women's hard work.
Lace pillows, stuffed with straw, bobbins, bobbin winders and candle stools were all made locally.

Lace schools were set up where children as young as four were taught to make lace in crowded cottage rooms by a dame who would rub their noses on the pin heads if they did not follow the pattern correctly.

Everyone looked forward to St Andrew's Day, 30th November, known as “Tanders", for this was the lacemakers' holiday, when Olney people congregated in "one another's housen". Special Tanders cakes of dough flavoured with caraway seeds were eaten and a mead-like drink made from honey called metheglin was drunk. Games were played too, like Jumping Over the Candlestick, and a good time was had by all.

It was a sad period for this local cottage industry when the machine-made€ lace from Nottingham came into production in the early 1800s. Local lacemakers reduced the width of their lace from wide floral patterns to narrow "baby" lace in an effort to beat the machines. And one famous Olney lace designer, John Millward, designed circular motifs for the crowns of baby’s caps, which the machines couldn’t copy at first.

John Millward (who is remembered today by "Mill’ards Entry” – a narrow passage leading from the High Street to East Street, alongside his former home) won prizes for lace designs at the Great Exhibition in 1851.

Also exhibited there, for the first time in Britain, was Maltese Lace. The local women liked the look of this more “open” lace and thought it would be quicker to make than the old point lace, so a new form of lace evolved called, initially, Beds/Maltese and now termed Bedfordshire lace (though not confined to that county) with its "leaves" and "spiders" and "nine-pin edge”. This became very popular in Olney and district, so much so that by the end of the 19th century the wide floral patterns of point lace (now known as Buckinghamshire lace) were in danger of dying out, so a group of ladies based at Gayhurst got together and set up the North Bucks Lace Association, persuading the older lacemakers to continue making the point patterns, and it is due to their guaranteed sales of lace that the old patterns survived.

Around the same time Torchon lace from France made its appearance – of simple geometric patterns that was easy to make. It was spoken of disparagingly by local lacemakers, who referred to it as "dishcloth" lace.

By the turn of the 20th century, lacemaking was beginning to pall with the younger women, who could obtain more money working in the local shoe factories. But Harry Armstrong from Stoke Goldington set up a Bucks Cottage Workers" Agency in 1906 and guaranteed the women sales of their lace. His business flourished and in 1909 he moved to Olney to premises near the railway station, which was convenient for the transport of lace to all parts of the world.

Article written by members of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes for the publication "Buckinghamshire Within Living Memory" (1993) and reproduced here with their permission

Description

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

The market town of Olney is situated in the most northern part of Buckinghamshire, and the parish is bound on the north by Northamptonshire. The place is distant from Newport Pagnell 5 miles N., 9 miles N.E. from the Wolverton Railway Station, 12 miles S.E. from Northampton, 12 miles W. from Bedford, 19 miles N.E. from Buckingham, and 57 miles N.W. by N. from London. The parish, including the hamlet of Warrington, is about 4 miles in length, and 2.5 miles in breadth, and contains 3,140 acres. The population in 1851 was 2,329 souls. The population in 1801 was 2,075; in 1821, 2,339; in 1831, 2,418; and in 1841, 2,437 souls. The rateable value of the town and the parish is £3,527.

The Town is delightfully situated in a pleasant valley through which the Ouse flows, and is contained almost entirely in one broard street from north to south, about three-quarters of a mile in length. The approach to the place from the Newport Pagnell road, is by a long causeway supported upon seventeen arches, crossing the meadow land  which is flooded in winter; and the southern entrance of the town (at the end of this causeway) is by a narrow and dangerous bridge, of four arches, which it is said the Lord of the Manor and the inhabitants intend to widen or rebuild.

The main part of the street is paved, flanked with footways, and lined with, for the most part, good modern houses of stone, and slated. Many are genteel residences, and there are some good shops. The houses have gardens behind, attached, with back entrances opening into lanes running parallel with the principal thoroughfare. Near its centre the street widens and forms a spacious Market Place where a small Market is held on Thursdays (formerly on Mondays), and Fairs on Easter Monday, June 29th ("Cherry Fair") and the 13th October. The latter is a pleasure fair.

Malting is extensively carried on here, and pillow-lace making forms the chief employment of the poorer class of females.

The town is well supplied with water from springs; and it was first lighted with gas on the evening of the 21st of September, 1854. The Gas Works are situated at Silver End; the gasometer holds 5,000 cubic feet of gas; and the buildings are of red brick, and neat. The Gas Company is a Joint-stock one holding 150 shares £10 each. Mr. William Foskett is the manager.

Nearly at the top of the town is the Lock Up, which has been removed of late years, from the Market Place. It is of stone, in the shape of a cone, ending in a sharp point. Olney has recently been thoroughly under drained.

The Lord of the Manor holds his court-leet and court-baron annually at the Bull Inn.

Education

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.

Two Boarding Schools, wherein 36 females are educated, at the expense of their parents.

Three Sunday Schools, supported by voluntary contributions; in one are 128 children of both sexes, who attend the Established Church; another (appertaining to Independents) consists of 170 children; the other, to the Baptist denomination, of 150 ; the last two have lending Libraries.

Warrington Hamlet (Pop. 74.)-No School in the hamlet.

ABSTRACT OF EDUCATION RETURNS, 1833.