John Bunyan (1628–1688)


One Thing is Needful: or, Serious Meditations upon the Four Last Things (‘These Lines I at this time present’)

First published in 1665 [no extant exemplum]. The Poems, ed. Graham Midgley (Oxford, 1980), pp. 53-102.

BuJ 1

Copy, evidently transcribed from a printed source.

In: An octavo miscellany of religious verse, vii + 84 leaves. Late 17th century.

Once owned or used by one Stephen Thompson and probably also by one Sarah Lucas of Arkesden, Essex.

Bodleian, MS Rawl. poet. 58, ff. 1r-24r.

Prison Meditations (‘Friend, I salute thee in the Lord’)

First published in Christian Behaviour; or the Fruits of True Christianity (London?, 1663); The Poems, ed. Graham Midgley (Oxford, 1980), pp. 37-51.

BuJ 2

Copy, headed ‘Prison Meditations, Directed to the heart of Suffering Saints and Reigning Sinners by John Bunyan in prison 1665’, evidently transcribed from a printed source (the broadside of 1665).

In: the MS described under BuJ 1. Late 17th century.

Bodleian, MS Rawl. poet. 58, ff. 25r-33r.



*BuJ 3

A deed of conveyance, entirely autograph, by which John Bunyan, brazier, of St Cuthbert's parish, Bedford, made over his property to his wife, Elizabeth, written on one side of a single folio leaf, signed by Bunyan and also, as witnesses, by four members of Bunyan's church, namely, John Bardolph, Nicholas Malin, William Hawkes and Lewes Norman, 23 December 1685. This document was apparently concealed (deliberately), for Bunyan died intestate, and the document was not discovered until the early 19th century (before 1832), reputedly in his cottage in St Cuthbert's Street, Bedford, which was demolished in 1838. In addition to the signature, the name of John Bunyan occurs six times in the text of this document. 1685.

Various facsimiles and facsimile examples are in Robert Philips, The Life, Times, and Characteristics of John Bunyan (London, 1839), after p. 578; in Offor, I, frontispiece and pp. xxxviii and lxxii; in Brown-Harrison, after pp. 122 and 338; in Garnett & Gosse (1903), III, after p. 136; in T.J. Brown; in Petti, English Literary Hands, No. 65; in Godber, p. 47, No. 2; and in a line-engraving published by the Trustees of the Bunyan Meeting Museum.

Bunyan Meeting Museum, [no shelfmark].

*BuJ 4

The Church Book of Bunyan Meeting in Bedford (1650-1821), entitled A Booke Containing a Record of the Acts of A Congregation of Christ, in or about Bedford Containing seven passages in Bunyan's hand written between November 1672 and 20 April 1683, when he was pastor or elder of the church: i.e. on pp. 6 (21 names, beginning with Henry Astwood, and a sidenote, in the second column); 7 (nine names, beginning with Matthew Barker, in the second column); 53 (last fourteen lines); 54 (whole page: some 63 lines); 55 (first 37 lines, down to fourteen lines from the bottom); 67 (first seven lines); 69 (last thirteen lines); 70 (last 25 lines); 71 (whole page: 41 lines); 72 (first 28 lines); and 260 (first 18 lines, including the first twelve obituary entries). The name Bunyan (i.e.‘Jo.’, ‘John’, ‘Tho.’ or ‘Sister’ Bunyan) occurs five times in these passages. 1672-83.

Complete facsimile of this MS published as The Church Book of Bunyan Meeting 1650-1821, ed. G.B. Harrison (London, Toronto and New York, 1928). Facsimile examples of pp. 52-3 (reduced) in Brown-Harrison, after p. 230, and of p. 71 in T.J. Brown. Facsimile of p. 71 in IELM, II.i (1987), Facsimile III, after p. xxiv.

T.J. Brown has noted that ‘Bunyan's own entries in the Church Book could be identified with reasonable certainty even without the help of the deed [BuJ 3]; as it is, the two documents support each other very nicely’.

Bunyan Meeting Museum, [no shelfmark].