Sunday, 17 February 2019

Bunhill Fields—3 September 1688

John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, died in August 1688, at the age of sixty. Drenched in a rainstorm on a rare visit to London for a preaching engagement, Bunyan fell ill while staying at the home in Snow Hill, Farringdon Without, of the grocer John Strudwick. His cold developed into a fever, though he still preached on 19 August to a London congregation, until illness claimed his life on 31 August 1688. He was buried at Bunhill Fields on 3 September.

Strudwick had already purchased a plot for a family vault in Bunhill Fields and it was his intention that Bunyan’s remains would be placed there too, though Bunyan was initially buried in the “Baptist Corner” at the back of the burial ground. John Strudwick survived another nine years, himself dying in 1697. There is no record of when Bunyan’s coffin was placed in the Strudwick vault although one might guess it was soon after Strudwick’s burial; the surviving burial ground registers only begin in 1713.