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.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Elstow, in Bedford and Bedfordshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 27th April 2017
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