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