Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Elstow Abbey (Elstow)

Elstow Abbey, now alternatively known as St. Mary and St. Helen Church, is a fragment of the Norman abbey founded for the Benedictines by the sister of William I at Elstow in Bedfordshire.

At the Dissolution of the Monasteries the abbey was briefly considered for a new cathedral for Bedford, but nothing came of this, and most was demolished.

The nave is now used as the parish church, and outside are quite extensive remains, including the cloisters and a wall of a mansion built later on the site.

There is a green man on the East wall, and the vestry is in a mediaeval undercroft. John Bunyan was baptised in the font.

The church tower is detached, and the young Bunyan delighted in ringing the bells. The tower is probably the basis for the one from which Beelzebub`s demons shot arrows at pilgrims in "The Pilgrim`s Progress".

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