The story of John Bunyan is inextricably linked with the historic town of Bedford. Bunyan was born and lived much of his life in and around Bedford and there are reminders of his life and times everywhere you look. Here's a mini-guide to major sites associated with John Bunyan in Bedford.

John Bunyan's Bedford
The Castle ruins
St. John's Rectory Baptism Pool Town Gaol

1. St. John's Rectory - The rectory appears as the House of the Interpreter in Pilgrim's Progress. One room is devoted to Bunyan's life and times.

2. Baptism Pool - It was here that Bunyan was first baptized by Rev. John Gifford of the Independent Bedford Gospel Church.

3. Town Gaol - Bunyan may have served his second sentence (1676) here. The actual gaol, which was incorporated in the bridge structure, is now gone, but a model of the building exists in the Bunyan museum on Mill Street.

4. Swan Hotel - The County Assizes were held here in the 17th century. Bunyan's second wife, Elizabeth, appeared here before 3 judges to plead her husband's case, but she was turned down. The inn features a staircase from Houghton House.

5. Bunyan Statue - The nine-foot-high statue was donated by Hastings, Duke of Bedford, in 1874.

6. Chapel of Herne - The site of Bunyan's trial before the Bedford Quarter Sessions in January 1661. The site is now occupied by the Town Hall.

7. County Gaol - Bunyan served his two sentences here 1660-72 and 1676-77. During the first of these he wrote Pilgrim's Progress. A plaque marks the spot where the gaol stood until 1801.

8. Bunyan's Home - Bunyan lived in a cottage at #17 St. Cuthbert's Street from 1655. The building was demolished in 1838 when his Deed of Gift bequeathing his entire estate to his wife Elizabeth was found hidden behind a brick in the chimney. Apparently Bunyan had feared the authorities might arrest him again and seize his assets.

9. Central Library - The Local Studies Department houses an extensive set of documents relating to Bunyan's life.

10. Bedford Museum - Collections on the natural history and heritage of Bedford are augmented by displays on Bunyan's life and times.

11. Cecil Higgins Art Gallery - A large display showcases a needlework panel titled "Bunyan's Dream", created to commemorate the tercentenary of Bunyan's birth.

12. Bunyan Meeting Free Church and Bunyan Museum - In 1672 Bunyan bought a barn in Mill Street to serve as a home for his congregation. The present church dates from 1849. The Bronze doors depicting scenes from Pilgrim's Progress were donated by Hastings, Duke of Bedford, in 1876. The museum displays mementoes from Bunyan's life and writings.

13. Bunyan's Birthplace - The (presumed) site of the cottage where Bunyan was born in 1628.

14. Elstow Abbey - Bunyan was christened here and attended services in the church for many years. His father, mother, and sister are buried in the churchyard.

15.Elstow Green - Bunyan played here in his youth. A damaged cross marks the site of a former May Pole.

16. Moot Hall - A former market house, the lovely half-timbered hall is now a museum of 17th-century life.

17. Elstow Cottages - a string of Tudor cottages restored to the condition they would have enjoyed in Bunyan's era.

Best of Britain Express Art Prints