John Bunyan (1628-1688): His Life, Times, and Work

By John Brown; Frank Mott Harrison | Go to book overview
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APPENDIX IV.
PERSONAL RELICS OF BUNYAN.
I. In the custody of the Trustees of Bunyan Meeting, Bedford, are preserved:
1. ()The Church Book, containing entries in Bunyan's handwriting.
2. () Bunyan's Will, or Deed of Gift, signed by him. [Vide p. 338.]
3. () Bunyan's Cabinet and Staff, formerly in the possession of his great-granddaughter, Mrs. Bithrey of Carlton, and acquired by the Trustees of Bunyan Meeting through the widow and family of the Rev. C. Vorley. [Vide p. 368.]
4. () Bunyan's Jug.1 Presented to the Trustees by Mrs. Poore, daughter of the Rev. S. Hillyard of Bedford.
5. () A valuable collection of copies of early and later editions and
foreign versions of "The Pilgrim's Progress," and other works by Bunyan.
6. [()]The old Door from Elstow Church--through which Bunyan would have passed, was recently transferred to the Trustees of the Bunyan Meeting, and is now in the Museum.
II. At Bunyan Meeting, Bedford, is kept Bunyan's Chair,2 which has been handed on in the vestry from his own times. There is also an interesting relic of Bedford county gaol; this is a Door with iron crossbars in the centre, and made of three layers of oak laid transversely, fastened to gether by iron bolts. It was purchased with other materials at the taking down of the gaol, in 1801, by Mr. Wm. Berrill of Bedford, and after being used for many years as the door of a building on the Fenlake Road, was presented to the Trustees by Mr. T. Gwyn E. Elger, J.P. It was always traditionally spoken of as the door of Bunyan's cell, but was more probably the door of the common day-room of the prisoners. The lintel, posts, and sill also are part of the original doorway.

[When enlarging the premises in 1832-5, comprising the brewery in Lurke Street, Bedford, Nathaniel Small, the original owner, bought various fittings, beams, rafters, and joists which once belonged to the County Gaol, where Bunyan was imprisoned from 1660 to 1672. These portions of the building have been lost sight of, but two Prison Doors are still there, "one of which," says Mr. F. C. Fuller, in a communication to the Editor, "is believed to be that of the actual cell in which Bunyan was imprisoned, and the other existed in the outer wall of the prison. It is fitted with an iron grid through which prisoners put their hands to beg of passers-by, as explained to me in 18&4 by the late Dr. Brown personally. I have been given to understand that the plan of the prison was a corridor with cells on either side."]

III. Bunyan's copy, in three volumes, folio, of Foxe's "Book of Martyrs." [Vide p. 154] at one time the property of the Literary and Scientific Institute, Bedford, is now in the Pierpoint Morgan Library, New York.
____________________
1
In which soup was sent by Elizabeth Bunyan to her husband in they County Gaol.
2
Of this chair it has been said, "No relic in all Britain has been to me so sacred."

-487-

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