John Bunyan and Pilgrim's Progress: A Gallery of People Around John Bunyan
Upon release from his tour of duty as a soldier in the Parliamentary ranks, John Bunyan married his first wife. Her name is speculated to be “Mary:” as it was customary to name one’s first daughter after the mother, and this was the name of the Bunyan’s blind daughter.
Although Mary was monetarily poor, her dowry was of priceless value to John’s future. Mary brought a practical faith to her marriage, as well as stories of her Godly father. Bunyan writes, “She would be often telling me of what a Godly man her Father was, and how he would reprove and correct Vice, both in his house, and amongst his neighbours; what a strict and holy life he lived in his day, both in word and deed.”
The Bunyans were so poor that John once wrote that they did not have “so much household stuff as a dish or a spoon betwixt us both.” But Mary did bring two books that would influence John’s life and ministry. The books were, The Plaine Man’s Path-way to Heaven, Wherein every man may clearly see, whether he shall be saved or damned, written by Arthur Dent; and Lewis Bayly’s book, The Practice of Pietie, directing a Christian how to walke that he may please God.
Their two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, were born in Elstow, where they were baptized before the family moved to Bedford in 1544 to be closer to Gifford’s Church. This is significant because it was the Anglican, or State, Church that upheld infant baptism. This meant that although John joined the Bedford Congregation, Mary seems to have stayed loyal to the state church.
At the time of her death in 1658, Mrs. Bunyan left her husband with two daughters and two sons—Mary, Elizabeth, John, and Thomas.
Elizabeth Bunyan (c. 1641–1692)
After the death of his first wife, ...