Elstow  Bedfordshire


In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Elstow like this:

ELSTOW, a village and a parish in the district and county of Bedford. The village stands on a branch of the river Ouse, near the Bedford branch of the North-western railway, 1¾ mile S by W of Bedford; and has a post office under Bedford, and fairs on 15 May and 5 Nov. A Benedictine nunnery was founded here, in the time of William the Conqueror, by Judith, the Conqueror's niece, the Countess of Huntingdon; is said to have been very beautiful; and was called Helenstow, ultimately Elstow. ...

John Bunyan, the author of the Pilgrim's Progress, was a native of this village; and his cottage, in a renovated condition is still standing. The parish comprises 1, 522 acres. Real property, £3, 187. Pop., 618. Houses, 118. The property is all in one estate. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely. Value, £75. Patron, S.Whitbread, Esq. The church belonged to the nunnery; is Norman, with a steeple; has two brasses of 1427 and 1530; and includes a chapter-house. There are an Independent chapel, and charities £45.

Elstow through time

Elstow is now part of Bedford district. Click here for graphs and data of how Bedford has changed over two centuries. For statistics about Elstow itself, go to Units and Statistics.

How to reference this page:

GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Elstow, in Bedford and Bedfordshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.


Date accessed: 26th September 2023

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