Olney is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Buckinghamshire.
Other places in the parish include: Warrington and Olney Park Farm.
Alternative names: Onlney, Oulney
Parish church: St. Peter and St. Paul
Parish registers begin:
- Parish registers: 1665
- Bishop’s Transcripts: 1575
Nonconformists include: Baptist, Independent/Congregational, and Society of Friends/Quaker.
- Clifton Reynes
- Weston Underwood
- Easton Maudit, Northamptonshire
- Yardley Hastings, Northamptonshire
- Tyringham with Filgrave
- Bozeat, Northamptonshire
The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870
OLNEY, a small town, a parish, and a sub-district, in Newport-Pagnell district, Bucks. The town stands on the river Ouse, at the terminus of an extension of the Newport-Pagnell railway, 2 miles S E of the boundary with Northamptonshire, and 5 N by E of Newport-Pagnell. It was formerly called Oulney; it is notable for the residence at it of Browne, author of “Piscatory Eclogues,” who was vicar, of John Newton, author of “Cardiphonia” and other religions works, who also was vicar, of Thomas Scott, author of “Force of Truth,” a “Commentary on the Bible,” and other works, who was curate, and especially of Cowper the poet, who wrote here and at Weston-Underwood, 1½ mile to the SW, many of his poems; and it was the place where Newton and Cowper wrote the “Olney Hymns.” The extension railway to it, from Newport-Pagnell, was authorized in 1865, on a capital of £80,000 in shares, and £26,000 in loans; but had not been formed at the end of 1867. A twenty-four-arched old bridge formerly spanned the Ouse and some small tributary streams in its neighbourhood, and was characterized by Cowper as of “wearisome but need ful length; “ and a seven-arched-bridge was erected in room of the old one in 1832. The surrounding tract is low, flat, and subject to winteri floods; and the road through it, from Olney to Weston-Underwood, used to be so bad that it gave rise to the rhyme, “Sle, sla, slud, stuck in the mud.” The Ouse follows a somewhat serpentine course, even before reaching Olney, especially in the neighbourhood of Newport-Pagnell; and it becomes so very serpentine after passing Olney that it describes an aggregate course of about 70 miles, over what is only a direct distance of about 20 miles, between Olney and St. Neots. Hence does Drayton say:
Ouse having Oulney past, as she were waxed mad, From her first stayder course immediately doth gad, And in meandering gyves doth whirl herself about, That, this way, here and there, back, forward, in and out; And like a wanton girl, oft doubling in her gait, In labyrinth-like turns and twinings intricate, Thro’ those rich fields doth run.
The environs of Olney are far from beautiful, and were less pleasant formerly than now; but they acquired charming associations in the minds of Newton and Cowper from their own intercourse, meditations, and employments. The town itself, also, both physically and morally, in their time, was dismal and miserable; but it interested them the more, on that very account, as a field for their Christian philanthropy. It is even yet an unattractive place, with more thatched houses than slated ones; but it is undergoing improvement. It consists of a central market-place, one long street, and a few smaller streets. Cowper’s house still stands at a corner of the market-place; is rather taller than the neighbouring house, and presents a very desolate aspect; and his garden lies behind it, and contains his “summer parlour.” The town has a post-office under Newport-Pagnell, a good inn, a church, three dissenting chapels, a national school, a British school, two infant schools, twelve alms-houses, a causeway estate yielding £66 a year, and other charities £46. The church is early English, and large; and has a tower and spire 185 feet high, seen at long distances from the town. The dissenting chapels are Independent, Baptist, and Quaker. The alms-houses were founded by Misses Smith, and have £124 a year from endowment. A weekly market is held on Thursday; and fairs are held on Easter Monday, 29 June, and 13 Oct. Pop. of the town, in 1861, 2, 258. Houses, 540. The parish contains also the hamlet of Warrington. Acres, with Olney-Park-Farm, 3, 140. Real property of O. alone, £7, 491; of which £60 are in gas-works. Pop., 2, 347. Houses, 557. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford. Value, £163. Patron, the Earl of Dartmouth.
Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].
A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848
OLNEY (St. Peter and St. Paul), a market-town and parish, in the union of Newport-Pagnell, hundred of Newport, county of Buckingham, 19 miles (N. E.) from Buckingham, and 55 (N. W. by N.) from London; containing, with the hamlet of Warrington, 2437 inhabitants, of whom 2362 are in the town. This place is situated on the northern bank of the Ouse, and consists of one long street, which is paved. Most of the houses were thatched until the occurrence of a destructive fire, in 1786, but those erected since are covered with tiles; they are in general built of stone, and some of them are of very respectable appearance. The inhabitants enjoy an abundant supply of water. Over the Ouse is a handsome stone bridge with five large arches and five flood arches, replacing an ancient structure. The principal branch of manufacture is that of bonelace; but in consequence of the general use of machinery, the profits arising from it are much less than formerly. The market is held on Thursday; and there are fairs on Easter-Monday, June 29th, and October 21st. The parish is of level surface; its situation is low, and the soil gravelly. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king’s books at £13. 6. 8.; patron and impropriator, the Earl of Dartmouth; net income, £125, including 9 acres of glebe. The church is a large ancient edifice in the English style, with a tower, and a spire which was partially rebuilt in 1807: in the churchyard was once a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, with a chantry founded by Lord Basset. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, and Independents; also national and Lancasterian schools, the room of the former of which has been licensed for the performance of divine service. Almshouses for twelve widows and single women have been erected and endowed by the Misses Smith. Moses Brown, author of Piscatory Eclogues and other works, and the Rev. Henry Gauntlett, who wrote a commentary on the Apocalypse, were vicars of Olney; and the Rev. John Newton, a popular preacher and writer, and the Rev. Thomas Scott, the Biblical commentator, and author of various other theological works, were curates. Cowper the poet resided here for some time.
Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848
Buckinghamshire Archives & Family History Groups
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Births and Baptism Records
War and Conflict
- County: Buckinghamshire
- Civil Registration District: Newport Pagnell
- Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Buckingham
- Diocese: Pre-1845 - Lincoln, Post-1844 - Oxford
- Rural Deanery: Pre-1845 - None, Post-1844 - Newport
- Poor Law Union: Newport Pagnell
- Hundred: Newport
- Province: Canterbury