[Transcribed information from A Topographical Dictionary of England - Samuel Lewis - 1831]
(unless otherwise stated)
" ELSTOW, a parish in the hundred of REDBORNESTOKE, county of BEDFORD, 1¼ mile (south-west) from Bedford, containing 548 inhabitants. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Bedford, and diocese of Lincoln, rated in the king's books at £7.9., endowed with £800 royal bounty, and in the patronage of William Henry Whitbread, Esq. The church, dedicated to St. Mary and St. Helen, a fine old structure in the Norman style, was formerly the conventual church, and is now, with its detached tower to the north-west, the only remains, of an abbey of Benedictine nuns, founded in the reign of William the Conqueror, by his niece, Judith, Countess of Huntingdon, to the honour of the Holy Trinity, St. Mary, and St. Helen; at the dissolution it contained an abbess and twenty-one nuns, whose annual revenue amounted to £325. 2.1. There are fairs for all sorts of cattle on May 14th and 15th, and November 5th and 6th. John Bunyan, author of the Pilgrim's Progress, was born here."