John Newton and Olney Hymns
Morley Unwin died on 2 July 1767. Four days later Cowper and Mary Unwin met the Rev. John Newton, Curate of Olney in Buckinghamshire, and a man of strong and colourful personality. He had been a sailor and slave-trader. His classic instant conversion occurred sensationally during a storm at sea; after which he came ashore, educated himself, became an independent preacher, and eventually took Anglican orders. He was as Evangelical as Cowper and Mary could have wished, and he was as eager for them to settle in his parish as they were eager to be within hearing of his powerful preaching; so they moved to Olney and by February 1768 were installed in a rented house called Orchard Side. This would be their home for the next nineteen years.