Visit Olney and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Olney, Buckinghamshire. Famous for its long-standing connections with William Cowper, Olney is the main town of north Buckinghamshire. It was once a lace-making centre but since the decline of that industry other trades have taken its place.
Its buildings are a mixture of new and old and in the market square is the red-bricked Cowper Memorial Museum, where William Cowper lived with his friend Mary Unwin, who cared for him during his bouts of insanity. It was here he wrote his poems and hymns. In glass cases round the walls are editions and illustrations of his work, and Mary Unwin's room holds her workbox and lace bobbins.
The broach spire of the Church of SS. Peter and Paul dominates the countryside, for it rises to 185 ft. Dating from the 14th century, it is one of the county's finest churches. The tower is in four tiers, each containing a gabled window. Grotesque heads decorate the pinnacles and others peep out beneath the parapet of the chancel. John Newton was curate here during the time Cowper resided in Olney and became his close friend, writing together with him many of the Olney Hymns, such as “Hark my soul it is the Lord”, “God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform”, “How sweet the name of Jesus sounds” and “Glorious things of thee are spoken”.
The splendour of this magnificent church can be seen from the small bridge which passes over the narrow strip of the River Ouse adjacent to the church at the end of the long main street of the town.
Olney's claim to world renown is its pancake race, which takes place every Shrove Tuesday and has survived since the middle of the 15th century. In the town of Liberal in the United States a similar race is held annually. In Olney it is run between the market place and the church and the first housewife to complete the course is rewarded by a kiss from the bellringer and a silver cup.
Nearby towns: Bedford, Milton Keynes, Newport Pagnell, Northampton.
Nearby villages: Bozeat, Cranfield, Earls Barton, Hanslope, North Crawley, Sherington, Soulbury, Stoke Goldington.
Have you decided to visit Olney or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Olney bed and breakfast (a Olney B&B or Olney b and b)
- a Olney guesthouse
- a Olney hotel (or motel)
- a Olney self-catering establishment, or
- other Olney accommodation