Elstow is an Ancient Parish in the county of Bedfordshire.

Alternative names: Helenstow

Parish church: St. Mary and St. Helen

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1641
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1602

Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational

Table of Contents

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

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.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales 1850

Elstow, 2 m. S.W. Bedford. P. 562

Source: Leonard’s Gazetteer of England and Wales; Second Edition; C. W. Leonard, London; 1850

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

ELSTOW (St. Mary and St. Helen), a parish, in the hundred of Redborne-stoke, union and county of Bedford, 1¼ mile (S. by W.) from Bedford; containing 562 inhabitants.

This place was distinguished for an abbey founded in the reign of William the Conqueror, by his niece Judith, Countess of Huntingdon, for nuns of the Benedictine order, and which flourished till the Dissolution, when the society consisted of an abbess and 21 nuns, and its revenue was £325. 2. 1.

The parish comprises by measurement 1600 acres; the soil is partly dry and gravelly, and partly clayey. Fairs for cattle are held on the 14th of May and 5th of November, each for two days. The living is a perpetual curacy, valued in the king’s books at £7. 9.; net income, £75; patron and impropriator, W. H. Whitbread, Esq. The church, originally the church of the abbey, and now the only remaining portion of that establishment, is a stately structure in the Norman style, with a detached tower on the north side.

John Bunyan, author of the Pilgrim’s Progress, was born here.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848

Parish Registers

Elstow Parish Registers 1602 – 1812

Elstow Parish Registers 1602 – 1812 Bedfordshire parish registers by Bedfordshire (England); Emmison, F. G. (Frederick George), 1907-1995, editor – Archive.org

Parish Records


England, Bedfordshire, Elstow – Census ( 1 )
Census returns for Elstow, 1841-1891
Author: Great Britain. Census Office

England, Bedfordshire, Elstow – Church records ( 3 )
Bishop’s transcripts for Elstow, 1602-1866
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Elstow (Bedfordshire)

Chronicles of the abbey of Elstow
Author: Wigram, S. R.

Parish registers for Elstow, 1641-1978
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Elstow (Bedfordshire)

England, Bedfordshire, Elstow – Church records – Indexes ( 1 )
Computer printout of Elstow, Beds., Eng

England, Bedfordshire, Elstow – History ( 1 )
The Moot Hall, Elstow
Author: Martell, E. K.

England, Bedfordshire, Elstow – Manors – Court records ( 1 )
Court records, 1554-1742
Author: Manor of Elstow. Court (Bedfordshire)

England, Bedfordshire, Elstow – Poorhouses, poor law, etc. ( 1 )
Guardians and charity records, 1796, 1837-1866
Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Elstow (Bedfordshire)

England, Bedfordshire, Elstow – Taxation ( 1 )
Land tax assessments for Elstow, 1797-1949
Author: Bedfordshire (England). County Council


Directors of Companies

The following people were listed in the Directory of Directors 1881 as directors of companies who were either living in Elstow or the company was based in Elstow or both.

Wigram – Mr Francis S Wigram, Elstow, Bedford, is a director of the London and Hanseatic Bank Limited

Kelly’s Directory of the Wine and Spirit Trades, with which are included Brewers and Maltsters 1884

Marked thus * are Small Brewers who brew the beer they sell.

ELSTOW, Bedford

Tucker Henry *

Source: The Post office directory of the brewers and maltsters [afterw.] Kelly’s directory of the wine and spirit trades, with which are included brewers and maltsters By Kelly’s directories, ltd. 1884

The Post Office Directory of Bedfordshire 1869

ELSTOW (formerly called HELENSTOW) is a parish and pleasant village, one mile south from Bedford, in the hundred of Redbornestoke, union and county court district of Bedford, rural deanery and archdeaconry of Bedford, and diocese of Ely, situated on the main road from Bedford London.

The villagers are employed in pillow lace making.

Parish Clerk William Hall

National School Miss Sharp mistress

Ashton Samuel esq
Cole Mr William
Macan Turner Arthur esq JP
Manning Mrs

Chamberlain William blacksmith
Cranfield Emery farmer
Crouch William baker & farmer

Manning Robert farmer
Mayhew Elizabeth Mrs shopkeeper
Pestell John farmer
Pointer Thomas farmer
Prole Benjamin farmer
Risley William farmer
Robinson Henry cart owner

Slater John, Swan & bricklayer
Smith James Morris boot & shoe maker
Smith Samuel baker & farmer
Smith William shopkeeper & tailor
Southam William shopkeeper
Tatham Stephen market gardener
Tucker Hen Red Lion farmer & brewer

Source: The Post office directory of Northamptonshire, Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, and Oxfordshire By Kelly’s directories, ltd 1869


OS Grid ReferenceTL0512746554 (all-numeric format: 505128 246554)

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  • County: Bedfordshire
  • Civil Registration District: Bedford
  • Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Bedford
  • Diocese: Pre-1837 – Lincoln, Post-1836 – Ely
  • Rural Deanery: Bedford
  • Poor Law Union: Bedford
  • Hundred: Redbornestoke
  • Province: Canterbury

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