John Bunyan 1628-1688
In 1628 John Bunyan was brought to Elstow church to be baptised in the font which is still in use today. As a boy he played with other local children on the green. He knew the church well, attending there for over twenty years.
The foundations of his religious knowledge were built in Elstow Abbey, but his faith came directly from the scriptures, and its strength, in due course, led him out of the church doors and into the open countryside, where he spoke to the people in the freedom of the fields.
The small Bunyan Chapel, which also serves to honour those who suffered through imprisonment in the Far East during World War II, commemorates the achievements of this brave and simple man.
The Bunyan Windows in Elstow Abbey
Above the original altar he knew so well is a window celebrating his greatest book “The Pilgrim’s Progress” and on the other, north, side of the church and also facing east is one depicting the triumph of good over evil – the theme of another of John Bunyan’s books: “The Holy War”.
Lower left: Evangelist gives Christian directions for his pilgrimage. Top left: Christian flees from the City of Destruction and starts his journey, amid the jeers of his neighbours and the entreaties of his wife and children. Lower centre: Christian knocks at the ‘Wicket Gate’. Top centre: Christian, seeing Christ on the cross, is freed from his burden of sin. Lower right: Christian fights Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation. Top right: Christian and Hopeful cross the river of death and are welcomed by angels at the heavenly shore.
This window depicts another of John Bunyan’s books: ‘The Holy War’. On the left are gathered the forces of Evil. A sinister atmosphere dominates the image – green faces, the lower of the figures with a snake for a belt and below a skull and crossbones. On the right are the forces of Good, with the armour of gold and silver and flowers at their feet. In the centre stands the city of Mansoul (Man’s Soul) over which the battle between Good and Evil rages.
A summary of John Bunyan’s life as well as some meditations are also given on this website.