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 with a scroll reading "Where was a den; and as I slept I dreamed a dream" in the lower left hand panel of the window, with the figures of Christian and the Evangelist. The scenes above are of Goodwill at the wicket gate, Christian witnessing the Crucifixion and Christian being armed by Piety, Prudence and Charity. From the base of the right hand light the scenes show 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. In the tracery at the top is the vision of the Lamb and the ringing of bells in the Celestial City. In the borders are smaller scenes.

The inscriptions read:

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

His Life

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 (the first, Mary, was baptised in 1650, and the others were Elizabeth, John and Thomas), 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. The best known is The Pilgrim's Progress, published in 1678.

He died, after catching a fever after being caught in a rain storm, on 31st August 1688 in London and was buried on 3rd September 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

(Due to the position of this window in a narrow aisle it is not possible to take a full-on view of the complete window)


31st August 1688


25th January 1912


Writer; priest/minister


North Transept

Memorial Type


Material Type


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 window with dreaming figure and fight with Apollyon
Bunyan dreaming and inscriptions

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Figures of Christian and Goodwill, and Christian in Vanity Fair in Bunyan window
Christian with Goodwill, and in Vanity Fair

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster