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Oxford University Press
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THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
A RELATION OF HIS IMPRISONMENT
EDITED WITH BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION AND NOTES
EDMUND VENABLES, M.A.
LATE PRECENTOR AND CANON OF LINCOLN
SECOND EDITION, REVISED
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
دم (( / - //
The birthplace of John Bunyan was Elstow, a small village rather more than a mile to the south of the town of Bedford. The original form of the name of Elstow was Ellen-stow, the stow ? or place of St. Helen, one of our few early British saints, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, under whose patronage the village was originally placed. Elstow was the seat of a Benedictine nunnery, founded in 1078 by Judith, niece to William the Conqueror, and widow of Waltheof, Earl of Huntingdon; and Elstow nunnery, or abbey, continued to rank among the most wealthy of similar foundations till the Dissolution. The abbey was surrendered to the crown Aug. 26, 1540. The sisters had pensions granted to them out of the estates, and several of them continued to live quietly close to their old home in the town of Bedford. The register of the united parishes of St. Mary and St. Peter Dunstaple in that town contains the entry of the burial of four of them. The monastic property passed to Sir Humphrey Ratcliffe, brother to the Earl of Sussex, who made the convent his place of residence. He died there in 1566, and was buried in the chancel. From the Ratcliffes the property passed to the Hillersdens, by whom a niansion was erected carly in the seventeenth century, which
| The Anglo-Saxon stow, a dwelling-place or habitation, forms an element in many local names.