John Newton Room

The John Newton Room tells the story of John’s life as curate of St Peter & St Paul Church in Olney and of his hymn, ‘Amazing Grace’.

This room also documents the slave trade of the 18th century, John’s own involvement as a slave ship captain; and how in his final years he sought to support the Anti-slavery campaign and became a mentor to William Wilberforce, the voice of the abolition movement in Parliament.


‘I hope it will always be a subject of humiliating

reflection to me, that I was, once, an

active instrument, in a business at which my heart now shudders.’


Amazing Grace and the other Olney Hymns written by both John and William were sung at group meetings at the Rectory, Great House or church.

Although there is still debate about this …. We think they were also sung in church services in Olney.


The Great House was owned by Lord Dartmouth and he gave John permission to use it for his group meetings of prayer, hymn singing and sermons.


Move on to William Cowper’s Bedroom