A Lace Trail around Olney (Revised August 2018)

Learn about Harry Armstrong the last great character associated with Olney lacemaking

A Lace Trail around Olney (Revised August 2018)

England MK46 4YY, United Kingdom

Created By: ODHS

Tour Information

This trail provides an introduction to Olney's lace makers and the associated cottage industry which lasted for over 300 years. Continental lace makers came to this area of North Buckinghamshire as a result of religious persecution in their own countries from the late 1500s through to the late 1600s. The lace makers, particularly those from Lille and Mechlin, settled here in Olney and taught local women to make bobbin lace.

The Points of Interest covered in the trail demonstrate that, although most experienced lace makers produced excellent fine lace, they barely managed to scrape a living from their labours.

The author of the original work for this trail was local historian Elizabeth Knight. It has been developed and edited for digital media by the Olney and District historical Society.

Completion of the trail takes around 30 minutes.

Trail revised August 2018

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

At Point of Interest Number 1 you should be on the Market Place near the War Memorial. Please face south towards Orchard House, now the Cowper and Newton Museum (see above image). Continental lace makers came to this area of North Bucking... Read more
Point of Interest Number 2. Having stopped at Evelyn House   next to Olney House, look across the street at the Old Penny House (Number 22 High Street) to the left of the archway. See recent photograph above. The Old Penny House was a sch... Read more
Point of Interest Number 3. Having stopped at Number 51 High Street opposite the United Reformed Church, look across the street at the small house (Number 44) between the United Reform Church and the Hairdressing Salon. See image above. N... Read more
At Point of Interest Number 4 you should be standing just beyond the former Butcher’s shop (Number 55 High Street) and be  situated opposite ‘The Lace Factory’ on the other side of the street. The site in the High Street was avail... Read more
So we have arrived back at the Honey House, Point of Interest Number 5. This position in the High Street is possibly a good position from which to let your eyes run along the roofline all the way down the High Street (on either side). T... Read more
Point of Interest Number 6 - which is merely a pause. Glance down the entrance to Berrill’s Court (which is next to the Chemist’s shop at Number 14 Market Place) where many of the lace makers lived in small thatched cottages. It is d... Read more
Point of Interest 7 - the final point of interest on this trail. If you have not already done so recently, why not visit the Cowper and Newton Museum to view the many lace making artefacts it displays, along with an excellent collection of ... Read more


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