The Olney Hymns

The words of John Newton & William Cowper with a fresh and new musical style

The Olney Hymns were first published in February, 1779 and were the combined work of John Newton and his poet friend William Cowper.

These hymns were written for use in Newton’s rural parish in the town of Olney, England.


At the time of first publication, the town of Olney was made up of about 2,000 people with about 1,200 working in the lace making industry.

The parish there was made up of these relatively poor and uneducated followers and William Cowper referred to them as “the half-starved and ragged of the earth”.