History

John Bunyan

History

A memorial window to writer and preacher John Bunyan was unveiled in the west aisle of the north transept of Westminster Abbey on 25 January 1912. It was erected by public subscription and designed by J.Ninian Comper and shows eight scenes from Bunyan's most famous work The Pilgrim's Progress. Bunyan is shown asleep and dreaming in the lower left hand panel. In the tracery at the top is the vision of the Lamb and the ringing of bells in the Celestial City. The inscription reads:

"In memory of John Bunyan. The Pilgrim's Progess. B.1628. D.1688"

John was baptised at Elstow in Bedfordshire on 30 November 1628, a son of Thomas and his second wife Margaret (Bentley). The family had been settled in that county since 1199. He served in the New Model Army during the English Civil War and later married and had four children but we don't know his wife's name. In 1659 he married his second wife Elizabeth and had two children. In 1653 he joined a non-conformist church in Bedford and was later imprisoned for preaching without a licence. He wrote several of his books during his twelve year imprisonment. He died on 3 September 1688 in London and lies in Bunhill Fields burial ground in Finsbury.

A photo of the window can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

John Bunyan, his life, times and work by John Brown, 1885

John Bunyan. The man and his works by Henri Talon, 1952

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.