John Olney

Northampton Mercury 13 November 1903

RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL. Olney District. That legal proceedings be taken against Mr. Olney, of Castlethorpe for not complying with bye-laws in the erection of buildings at Castlethorpe. The report was adopted.

Northampton Mercury 01 January 1904


Mr. William Olney, of Castlethorpe, attended before the committee with respect to the contravention the bye-laws the erection of two cottages at Castlethorpe. The committee recommended that the matter be left in the hands the Surveyor, and that such alterations be carried out he (the Surveyor) requires.

Northampton Mercury 05 February 1904

The committee recommended that seven days' notice be served on Mr. Olney requiring him to comply with the bye-laws in respect to two houses at New road, Castlethorpe;

Northampton Mercury 23 December 1904

The committee interviewed Mr J. Olney with reference to the drainage of cottages at New-road. Castlethorpe, and the matter having been satisfactorily explained him, agreed comply with the Council's notice.

Northampton Mercury 07 July 1933


ONE of the best-known local preachers in the Wolverton area is Mr. John Olney, of Castlethorpe, who recently completed 50 years’ service in that capacity. The village churches owe much to his devoted services, and for the Sunday Schools especially he has done a wonderful work.

Mr. John Olney

It was through Mr. Olney that the late Mr. William Bagshaw became a lay preacher. Forty years ago Mr. Olney took as the text of one of his sermons, “There’s a lad here,” and his words so impressed William Bagshaw, then a youth, that he determined to give his service to the cause. His services were accepted, and he became one of the most eloquent local preachers in the district. Wolverton readers will remember that Mr. Bagshaw died suddenly when at a dinner at the Technical College nearly three years ago.
Mr. Olney tells an amusing story of his first preaching engagement at Cosgrove. The steward met him at the vestry door, and somewhat gloomily remarked, “We had Mr. – last Sunday, and now you to-day, and we might as well have nobody.”
In recognition of his services as a local preacher, Mr. Olney has been presented with a certificate of merit.

Northampton Mercury 13 September 1935

By direction of J. T. Olney, Esq
(unless previously sold privately),
FRIDAY NEXT, 27th SEPT., 1935,
 At 7 p.m.

John Olney
John Olney
The Wolverton Express 04 July 1947



Castlethorpe “Worthy”

Mr. John Olney

At the great age of 89 year Mr. John Olney, who resided in New Road, Castlethorpe, can still attend to all the needs of a daily life, while he has a wonderful capacity for conversation. This Castlethorpe “worthy” is best known for an association with the Methodist cause which has been extended over the long space of 85 years.

Mr. Olney might attribute his keenness for Methodism to having been born in a house at Hanslope that was the property of the Methodist Chapel trustees. He was only four years of age when his parents moved to the neighbouring village of Castlethorpe, and on the first Sunday there John and his elder brother were taken to Sunday School or ‘the cradle roll’ at the Methodist Church. That visit commenced an association which is still unbroken and Mr. John Olney holds the wonderful record of having attended no fewer than 82 school anniversary services there. For 68 years he was a teacher in the Sunday school, while he has been a trustee of the Methodist Church, Castlethorpe, for 66 years, and has only missed two of the meetings, which was through illness. During his 66 years as Local Preacher he conducted thousands of services, and preached at the Stony Stratford Silver Street Methodist Church on more than 200 occasions. For many years Mr. Olney’s only means of keeping his appointments on a Sunday was by walking, and his longest journey was to preach at North Crawley, which entailed 26 miles on foot. “In those days we stood for nothing”, said Mr. Olney, “and services were looked upon as more important than they are today”.

Other office he has held at the Methodist Church are Chapel Society and Poor steward.

A retired railway employee, he had 47½ years’ work continues service, his work, being a water-trough attendant on the main line near his home. During a long and active life he had no misfortune during his work or journey to villages for preaching. Mr. Olney has a wonderful retentive memory, and can relate incidents of over 40 years ago.

His marriage partnership lasted for 50 years all but three months. His residence in New Road, Castlethorpe extends over 61 years, with 49 years in the same house.

Northampton Mercury 11 July 1947

A well-known figure in Methodist circles in the Wolverton district, Mr. John Olney, of Castlethorpe, who is 89, can claim the unique record of having attended 82 school anniversary services at the village church.
For 68 years he was a teacher in the Sunday School, and has been a trustee of Castlethorpe Methodist Church for 66 years. During his 66 years as a local preacher, he preached at the Stony Stratford Silver-street Methodist Church on more than 200 occasions.
For many years Mr. Olney’s only means of keeping his appointments on Sundays was by walking, and his longest journey was to preach at North Crawley—26 miles on foot.
He is a widower and his marriage partnership lasted 50 years, all but three months.
Mr. Olney has lived at Castlethorpe over 61 years—49 years in the same house.

The Wolverton Express 18 November 1949



A Castlethorpe Worthy

Representatives of all sections of Methodist life in Castlethorpe and North Bucks paid tribute at the funeral of Mr. John Olney on Thursday 10th November. Mr. Olney, as announced in our previous issue, died on Monday 7th November at his home in New Road. He had reached the advanced age of 91 years, and up to within six months of his death enjoyed all his faculties and could read without the aid of glasses. Mr. Olney was a remarkable man and led an active life.

His chief work, which he loved, centred in the Methodist denomination. Since the age of four years he had been associated with his village Methodist Church at Castlethorpe; in fact he was on the Sunday School roll from that age until death. He had been School Superintendent, was a Trustee up to his death, and Society Steward for many years. His Christian work, however, extended to a wider field, for he was a Local Preacher for nearly 70 years, and preached his last sermon at the age of 89 years. It was interesting to hear him relate various methods by which he reached outlying village churches in order to preach the Gospel.

He had many other interests, including his membership of the Free Church Council, President of Castlethorpe Band of Hope, a School Manager, and Parish Councillor; also President of the Progress Lodge of Odd Fellows. He had been an ambulance worker, and was a keen gardener, winning a prize for an exhibit grown in his garden at the village horticultural show as recently as a year ago. For 47 years he was employed by the Railway Company as a platelayer, his chief work being to keep the nearby water-troughs in order. Because of his refusal to work on Sundays he allowed promotion to slip by.

Mr. Olney enjoyed the companionship of his wife for nearly 50 years, and it was a great blow to him and hiss three daughters when Mrs. Olney died six years ago – only two months before the golden wedding day.
Deceased gentleman was outspoken in his furtherance of what he thought was right, had a keen sense of humour, and was never happier then when talking to children.

His Work An Inspiration

To Continue

Mr. S. C. Howarth in paying tribute at the funeral service in the village Methodist Church, said it was a great honour for him to have been associated with John Olney. The presence of their departed bother was always an inspiration and encouragement to him; he took upon himself tremendous responsibilities, sacrificing leisure time in hours of preparation in order to stand in the pulpits of God’s House and declare His work.
“So long as this building stands, so will his name be honoured and remembered; let his example be an inspiration to us to continue in God’s work”, said the preacher.

The service was conducted by the Rev. Stuart Knight, circuit Superintendent, and Mr. A. E. Richardson (organist0 played for the singing of the hymns, “ The Saints of God” and “When the day of toil is done.”
The interment was in the Parish Church grounds.

Immediate mourners were: Miss Olney, Mr. and Mr. Brown, and Mr and Mrs. Hall (daughters and son-in-law). Miss Ivy Hall (grand-daughter) Mr. E. Webb, Rugby (brother-in-law, and Miss M. Webb, Northampton (friend).

Representing Castlethorpe Methodist Church were Messrs. L. Nichols, A. E. Richardson, J. Cowley, J. E. Green, and E. Nichols (Trustees); Local Preachers’ Mutual Aid, Mr. E. King and Mr. E. J. Collins, Wolverton; Free Church Council, Mr. S. North, Potterspury; Railway Temperance Union, Mr. E. J. Whitmee, Woburn Sands; Local Preachers’ Association, Mr. T. Gollins, Moulsoe, and Mr. A. J. Brooks, Wolverton; Castlethorpe Parish Church, Mr. R. Holt; Loyal Progress Lodge of Odd Fellows, Mr. F. Mills.

Also present were Mr. H. C. Piper, Woburn Sands; Mr. and Mrs Buckingham, Leighton Buzzard; Mr. and Mrs. F. Williams, Hanslope; Mrs. A. E. Brown, Stony Stratford; Mr. and Mrs. Buckingham, Old Stratford; Mr. F. E. Clarke, Stony Stratford; Mr. R. O. Sharpe, J.P. Moulsoe; Mr. W. T. Clarke, Mrs. Mothersole, Mrs. J. Cowley, Miss M. Arrowsmith, Mrs. Morley, Mrs. W. Mills, Mrs. Ellis Nichols, Mrs. Lambert, Mrs. J. Green. Mrs. Wilson, Miss Williams, Mrs. Carter, Mr. A. Burbidge, Mrs. H. P. Cook, Mrs. E. Nicholls, Mr. C. Bywater, and Mrs. J. E. Gobbey.

There were many floral tributes, and in addition to those from members of the bereaved family and relatives and friends were tokens from: Members and friends of Castlethorpe Methodist Church; Old friends Stony Stratford Methodist Church; The Wolverton and Bletchley Circuit; The Loyal Progress Lodge, north Bucks, District Odd Fellows.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. R. W. Dickens and Son, Hanslope.