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Biography of John Bunyan

Portrait of John Bunyan

John Bunyan was a seventeenth century christian writer principally known for his work “The Pilgrim’s Progress”.

When and Where was he Born?

November 1628, Elstow, Bedfordshire, England.

Family Background:

John Bunyan was the son of Thomas Bunyan, a traveling tinker and Margaret Bentley.


Learned to read and write at a local school.

Timeline of John Bunyan:

1640: Bunyan starts work as a tinker.

1644: He is conscripted into the Parliamentary Army during the English Civil War, joining at the Newport Pagnell garrison.

1645: Death of his mother.

1648: He marries an orphan girl.

1650: Birth of his blind daughter Mary.

1653: John Bunyan joins a Christian Fellowship and becomes a preacher.

1654: Birth of his daughter Elizabeth.

1655: The family move to Bedford and Bunyan becomes Deacon of St John’s Church.

1656: He begins to discuss religion with the followers of George Fox, the founder of the Quaker movement, which leads to his first book “Some Truths Opened” which is a violent attack on Fox.

1657: He is formally recognised as a preacher.

1658: Death his first wife.

1659: He marries the eighteen year old Elizabeth.

1660: He is arrested on 12th November while preaching at a farmhouse in Ampthill, Bedfordshire for “devilishly and perniciously abstaining from coming to Church to hear Divine Service, and for being a common upholder of several unlawful meetings and conventicles, to the great disturbance and distraction of the good subjects of this kingdom, contrary to the laws of our sovereign lord and king.” He is imprisoned for twelve years in Bedford County Gaol where he writes many other books.

1672: Bunyan is released from prison after the Declaration of Indulgence.

1675: He is re-imprisoned for a further six months during which time he writes the first part of the book for which he is chiefly remembered “The Pilgrim’s Progress”. After he is released once more he becomes a pastor at Bedford until his death.

1684: He writes the Second part of “The Pilgrim’s Progress” which tells the story of Christiana and her children.

When and Where did he Die?

31st August 1688, London, England after catching a chill riding from Reading in the rain.

Age at Death:


Written Works:

1656: “Some Gospel Truths Opened”.
1657: “A Vindication of Gospel truths Opened”.
1661: “Profitable Meditations”.
1663: “I Will Pray with the Spirit”.
1665: “The Holy City”. “The Resurrection of the Dead”.
1666: “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners”.
1671: “Confession of my Faith”.
1678: “The Pilgrim’s Progress, from this World to that Which is to Come”.
1679: “A Treatise of the Fear of God”.
1680: “The Life and Death of Mr Badman”.
1681: “Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ”.
1682: “The Holy War”. “The Greatness of the Soul”.”The Barren Fig Tree”.
1684: “Pilgrim’s Progress Part Two”. “Seasonable Counsel”.
1686: “A Book for Boys and Girls”.
1688: “The Water of Life”. “The Jerusalem Sinner Saved”
(1692): “Of Antichrist and his Ruin, Works”.


1. 1648: To an orphan girl. (died 1658)
2. 1659: To Elizabeth. (died 1692)

Site of Grave:

Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, City Road, Finsbury, London, England.

John Bunyan's Grave
John Bunyan’s Grave in Bunhill FIelds, London
 (copyright Anthony Blagg)

Places of Interest:


John Bunyan Museum.