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John Bunyan

A memorial window to writer and preacher John Bunyan was unveiled in the west aisle of the north transept of Westminster Abbey on 25th January 1912. It was erected by public subscription and designed by J. Ninian Comper and shows eight main scenes from the first part of Bunyan's most famous work The Pilgrim's Progress. Bunyan is shown asleep and dreaming in the lower left hand panel. The scenes show Christian and the Evangelist in the Fields, Good-Will receiving Christian at the wicket gate, Christian witnessing the Crucifixion, Piety, Prudence and Charity arming Christian, his fight with Apollyon, with Faithful in Vanity Fair, Christian and Hopeful received by the two shining men and the two entering the gate of the City. Other smaller scenes are shown in the borders. 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 Progress. B.1628. D.1688

John was baptised at Elstow in Bedfordshire on 30th 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 3rd September 1688 in London and his tomb is in Bunhill Fields burial ground in Finsbury.

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

Died

3rd September 1688

Memorial

25th January 1912

Occupation

Writer; priest/minister

Location

North Transept

Memorial Type

Window

Material Type

Glass

John Bunyan
John Bunyan

By Bradley Garretson & Co. AND William Garretson & Co. (The Complete Works Of John Bunyan (1874) (Book)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

John Bunyan
Bunyan window inscriptions

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

You are surrounded by history at the Abbey, not like a museum where it’s just displayed, but here you are standing where history has happened.

Gerlinde - Abbey Marshal

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