Cowper & Newton Museum explores the enduring friendship of William Cowper and John Newton in the town where they lived and collaborated, notably creating the hymn Amazing Grace.

Housed in Orchard Side House, William Cowper’s home from 1768-86, the museum provides an insight into the life and work of this popular poet, hailed as an early Romantic pioneer. Aspects of his home life such as his love of animals and gardening had a huge impact on his writing, and personal artefacts and objects paint of picture of his world.

Explore the Viper Barn where Cowper wrote his famous poem The Colubriad (written 1782, published 1806), the historic kitchen, the grand hall, the parlour overlooking the bustling marketplace, Cowper’s personal bedroom, and the lace room, which tells the story of Olney’s important lace makers whose work Cowper and Newton supported.

William Cowper and John Newton’s enduring relationship began with a shared faith, and Newton came to be curate of St Peter & St Paul in the town of Olney, the setting where these two friends collaborated on the creation of many famous hymns, including Amazing Grace. The museum also tells the important story of the slave trade in the 18th century and the abolitionist movement, which Newton moved to support later in his life, following his time as a slave trader and ship captain himself.

Pictures, objects, books and manuscripts tell the tale of Newton’s time in Olney, growing his congregation and composing many hymns, and there are rooms dedicated to Georgian life and stories from the local community. The museum also boasts a gorgeous garden filled with year-round plants and the Three Hares Gallery on the top floor, regularly exhibiting work of local artists working in a range of mediums.

South EastHistoric houseMuseum

Cowper and Newton Museum

Orchard Side, Market Place, Olney, Buckinghamshire, MK46 4AJ

01234 711 516


Opening times

Historic House, Gallery Exhibitions, Gardens and Shop

19th May - 22nd December 2021

Tues, Weds, Thurs, Fri, Sat 11am-4:30pm (last entry 3:30pm)

COVID safety measures in place. All visitors must wear masks in the building. Hand sanitise on arrival. Make use of NHS QR code. Leave contact details if QR code not accessible on mobile phone. Keep 2 metres apart where possible. Shop staff are behind a perspex screen. Surfaces are disinfected at the end of each day in readiness for our next visitors. Rooms are ventilated where possible. No more than 6 visitors in each room at any one time. Gloves available to wear. Hand sanitiser available on exit from the museum.

With a National Art Pass you get

50% off entry and exhibitions
Standard entry price

Price displayed is based on a standard venue entry price. Prices may vary according to ticket type and entry day/time.

Price correct at time of publication.

Ready to discover more? Choose your pass

Exhibitions nearby

Back to top