The Info List - Olney, Buckinghamshire

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Olney (/ˈoʊni/, rarely /ˈɒlni/ OL-nee)[2] is a market town and civil parish in the Borough of Milton Keynes, South East England.[3] It is also part of the ceremonial county of Buckinghamshire, with a population of around 6,500 people.[4] It lies on the River Great Ouse, very close to the borders with Bedfordshire
and Northamptonshire
and equidistant from Northampton, Bedford
and Milton Keynes. It has easy access to the M1 at Junction 14 (approximately seven miles) and fast train links to London
from Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes
Central or Bedford
(each approximately twelve miles distant). It is a popular tourist destination, perhaps best known for the Olney Pancake
Race[2] and for the Olney Hymns by William Cowper
William Cowper
and John Newton.


1 History

1.1 Olney Pancake

2 Description 3 Sport

3.1 Rugby football 3.2 Association football 3.3 Others

4 Notable residents 5 References 6 External links

History[edit] First mentioned as Ollanege (Olla's island) in 932,[5] the town has a history as a lace-making centre. The place, later called Olnei was held in 1086 AD by Bishop Geoffrey of Coutances
as its overlord, according to the Domesday Book. During the English Civil War, Olney was the site of the Battle of Olney Bridge.[6] In the late 18th century, William Cowper
William Cowper
and John Newton
John Newton
collaborated here on what became known as the Olney Hymns. John Newton, author of the hymn "Amazing Grace," was curate of Olney and is buried here. His guest was William Cowper
William Cowper
(English poet and hymnodist (1731–1800)). The town has the Cowper and Newton Museum
Cowper and Newton Museum
dedicated to them. The museum was adapted from Cowper's former residence, which was given to the town in 1905 by the publisher William Hill Collingridge (who had been born in the house). Newton was succeeded as curate in Olney by the biblical commentator Thomas Scott (1747–1821). The hamlet of Olney Park Farm to the north of the town of Olney derives its name from a park established in 1374 by Ralph, Third Baron Bassett of Sapcote in Leicester. In 1861 it attained civil parish status, but was subsequently incorporated into an enlarged Olney civil parish around 1931.[7][8] Olney formerly had its own railway station on the Bedford— Northampton
line, but the line was closed in 1962.[9] Olney Pancake

Signpost advertising 2009 Pancake

Since 1445, a pancake race has been run in the town on many Pancake Days, the day before the beginning of Lent.[10] Tradition records that in 1445 on Shrove Tuesday, the "Shriving Bell" rang out to signal the start of the Shriving church service. On hearing the bell a local housewife, who had been busy cooking pancakes in anticipation of the beginning of Lent, ran to the church, frying pan still in hand, tossing the pancake to prevent it from burning, and dressed in her kitchen apron and headscarf.[11][12] The women of Olney recreate this race every Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday
(known in some countries as Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras
or Fat Tuesday) by running from the market place to the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, a distance of over 400 yards. The traditional prize is a kiss from the verger. In modern times, Olney competes with the town of Liberal, Kansas
Liberal, Kansas
in the United States
United States
for the fastest time in either town to win the "International Pancake
Race". There is also a children's race, run by children from the local schools. The children have to run a distance of about 20 yards. This competition has been run every year since 1950.


A signpost in Olney

The A509 road
A509 road
runs into the wide High Street bordered by historic town houses. The Market Place is the site of a general market on Thursdays and a farmers' market on the first Sunday each month. The vast majority of Olney shops are independents, attracting shoppers from further afield to find the galleries, antique, rug and furniture sellers, as well as boutiques for interior design, fashionable clothes and perfumery. There are restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways offering a wide variety of British and international food. As Olney continues to expand, with new housing estates, a secondary-level satellite campus, Ousedale School
Ousedale School
has opened for pupils from year 7 to year 11. Olney Infants School is for reception to year 2 children and Olney Middle School takes the children up to year 6, at the age of 11. The route for an A509 by-pass may continue to be an issue for the residents of the town, as are the various wind farm sites proposed in the locality.[13] Sport[edit] Rugby football[edit] Olney has for many years been a rugby town, with its rugby team dating to 1877. Called Olney Rugby Football Club, it has four regular senior teams. They also cater for Colts rugby, women's rugby, girls' rugby and mini rugby. The club holds many social events for the town, one of these being a Rugby 7s tournament, with teams attending from all over the country. Olney's rugby is played to a high standard in the English rugby union Leagues, winning the Lewis Shield in 2007, the Southern Counties North League in 2008, and the Bucks Cup in 2010.[14] Association football[edit] The town's football club, Olney Town, plays in the United Counties League. The town also has a junior football club, Olney Town Colts FC. The FA Charter Standard club has 27 teams ranging from U5s to U18s and an adult development team ensuring local players can continue playing beyond youth football. Others[edit] Other sports activities are supported by clubs for cricket, tennis and bowls, and a hockey club for juniors. Notable residents[edit]

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Duncan Taylor, professional rugby union player (plays for Scotland and Saracens), used to play for Olney Rugby Football Club. Thomas Armstrong, organist and college administrator Moses Browne, poet and clergyman William Cowper, poet and hymn writer Clem Curtis, musician, television personality, a member of The Foundations. Henry Gauntlett, organist and composer Susannah Martin, a woman executed for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials John Newton, clergyman, slave trader turned abolitionist and writer of "Amazing Grace" Dan Wheldon
Dan Wheldon
(1978–2011), racing driver, winner of the 2005 IndyCar Series and twice winner of the Indianapolis 500


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Olney, Buckinghamshire.

^ Neighbourhood Statistics 2011 Census, Accessed 4 February 2013 ^ Olney and its associations, or, Reminiscences of the poet Cowper. Oxford: University of Oxford. 1880. p. 61.  ^ Parishes in Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes
Archived 8 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine. – Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes
Council. ^ 2011 census ^ Oxford
Dictionary of Placenames (ed. A.D. Mills and Adrian Room, 2002, Oxford
University Press) ^ Town re-enacts battle of 1643 – Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes
Citizen, 8 May 2008 ^ British History online – Olney Park Farm, Accessed 1 August 2014 ^ A Vision of History Through Time Olney Park Farm, Accessed 1 August 2014 ^ THE NORTHAMPTON – OLNEY- BEDFORD (LMS) RAILWAY: A View from Olney – Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes
Heritage Association ^ [1], Olney Parish ^ "The origin of pancake racing". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-28.  ^ Pancake
races in Olney ^ Bucks Lacks Enough Wind ^ Olney Rugby Football Club home page

External links[edit]

has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Olney, England.

'Parishes : Olney with Warrington', Victoria History of the Counties of England, A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4 (1927), pp. 429–439.

v t e

Civil parishes in Milton Keynes

Abbey Hill Astwood Bletchley
and Fenny Stratford Bow Brickhill Bradwell Broughton Calverton Campbell Park Castlethorpe Central Milton Keynes Chicheley Clifton Reynes Cold Brayfield Emberton Fairfields Gayhurst Great Linford Hanslope Hardmead Haversham-cum-Little Linford Kents Hill, Monkston and Brinklow Lathbury Lavendon Little Brickhill Loughton and Great Holm Milton Keynes Moulsoe New Bradwell Newport Pagnell Newton Blossomville North Crawley Old Woughton Olney Ravenstone Shenley Brook End Shenley Church End Sherington Simpson and Ashland Stantonbury Stoke Goldington Stony Stratford Tyringham
and Filgrave Walton Warrington Wavendon West Bletchley Weston Underwood Whitehouse Woburn Sands Wolverton
and Greenleys Woughton on the Green

v t e

Ceremonial county of Buckinghamshire


Unitary authorities

Borough of Milton Keynes

Boroughs or districts

Vale Chiltern South Bucks Wycombe

Major settlements

Amersham Aylesbury Beaconsfield Buckingham Chesham Gerrards Cross High Wycombe Marlow Milton Keynes

including Bletchley Fenny Stratford Stony Stratford Wolverton

Newport Pagnell Olney Princes Risborough Wendover Winslow Woburn Sands See also: List of civil parishes in Buckinghamshire


Chess Colne Frays Gade Great Ouse Jubilee Lyde Misbourne Ouzel Ray Thame Thames Tove Wraysbury Wye


Parliamentary constituencies Boundary changes Schools (Bucks) Schools (Milton Keynes) Places Sites of Special
Scientific Interest Places of interest Country houses Grade I listed buildings Grade II* listed buildings History Lord Lieutenant High Sheriff Monastic houses Museums Railways Transport

v t e

River Great Ouse, England


Northamptonshire Buckinghamshire Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire Norfolk

Flows into

The Wash

Towns (upstream to downstream)

Brackley Buckingham Old Stratford Milton Keynes

Stony Stratford Wolverton New Bradwell

Newport Pagnell Olney Kempston Bedford St Neots Godmanchester Huntingdon St Ives Ely Littleport Downham Market King's Lynn

Major tributaries (upstream to downstream by confluence)

River Tove River Ouzel
River Ouzel
(or Lovat) River Ivel River Kym Old Bedford
River New Bedford
River River Cam River Lark River Little Ouse River Wissey

Major bridges (upstream to downstream)

Harrold bridge A428 Turvey bridge A428 Bromham bypass A6 Bedford
Town Bridge A421 Bedford
bypass Great Barford Bridge A428 Bridge St Neots St Neots
St Neots
Town Bridge Godmanchester
Chinese Bridge A14 bridge, River Great Ouse Huntingdon
Old Bridge St Ives Bridge

Longest UK rivers

Severn Thames Trent Great Ouse Wye Ure/Ouse Tay Spey Clyde Tweed