Olney is a small town in Buckinghamshire, England. In the 18th century the principal occupation of the inhabitants was lace-making (see, for example, Eliza Westbury*). To Olney came John Newton* as curate-in-charge in 1764. In the same year he had published An Authentic Narrative of some Remarkable and Interesting Particulars in the Life of --------, a book which detailed his remarkable early life and his religious conversion. He rapidly became well known among evangelicals, and in 1767 the poet William Cowper*, with his friend Mary Unwin (whose husband had been killed in a riding accident) came to Olney in order to ‘sit under’ a clergyman whose preaching and conduct they found...
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