Links between Olney, England and Newton, Sierra Leone
John Newton (1725 – 1807) was an Englishman who was ‘press ganged’ into the Royal Navy. He later became captain of a slave ship and certainly worked from, and possibly lived on, Bunce Island, a major slave fort, close to Freetown, Sierra Leone.
He was nearly killed in a bad storm at sea and decided to repent and totally change his life. He became ordained as an evangelical Anglican cleric, serving the town of Olney in Buckinghamshire. He is known for writing the very famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’…’which saved a wretch like me’.
Whilst in Olney, he became great friends with the poet, William Cowper (visit the Cowper and Newton Museum, Olney). They became prominent supporters of abolitionism – stopping the African Slave Trade. Working with friends such as politician William Wilberforce, they made a huge contribution towards the passing of the Slave Trade Act 1807 and the abolition of slavery.
In recognition of this, a town just outside of the capital city of Freetown, Sierra Leone, was named after Newton. There have been strong links between the towns of Newton and Olney for many years. Recognising the challenges that are faced by the population of Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the World, the Olney Newton Link is doing as much as possible to work in partnership with and give support to the residents of Newton.
Read more in ‘About’ on the menu bar.
Read more about John Newton here
Olney Newton Link Annual General Meeting
Join us on Wednesday 10th May, 7.30pm at Gravett Hall, Sutcliff Baptist Church.
Enjoy Rugby? Come and listen to Calum Clark of Northampton Saints talking about the time he spent in Freetown persuading Sierra Leoneans that football wasn’t their only game!
Click on the poster to learn more.