The county day of Bedfordshire is November 28th, the birthday of celebrated local son John Bunyan,
preacher and author. This date topped a poll held by the Friends of Bedfordshire Society to decide the county day and was announced as the winner in February 2015.
Bunyan was born in the village of Elstow
near Bedford, in 1628. At the age of sixteen he joined the Parliamentary Army during the first stage of the English Civil War, returning to his home village after three years to become a tinker, a trade he had learnt from his father. Following his marriage he developed an interest in religion, attending the parish church and then joining the “nonconformist” Bedford Meeting and becoming a preacher. Upon the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, the freedom of nonconformists was restricted and he spent twelve years in gaol
for refusing to stop preaching. During this time he began work on his most famous book, The Pilgrim’s Progress
Although he endured another shorter term of imprisonment, his later years were spent in relative comfort as a popular author and preacher, and pastor of the Bedford Meeting. He died aged 59 after falling ill on a journey to London and is buried in Bunhill Fields, Islington. His “The Pilgrim’s Progress”
became one of the most published books in the English language; 1,300 editions having been printed by 1938, 250 years after the author’s death.
Since its inaugural celebration in 2015, the occasion has attracted a deal of recognition and observance. In 2015 the Bedfordshire villages, Eaton Socon and Eaton Ford, which lie adjacent to Huntingdonshire across the Great River Ouse, issued special commemorative passports bearing the flags of Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire (!)
, by the Eaton Community Association, for people passing over the Willow Bridge
which connects the two counties
The respective county flags were displayed on either side of the bridge
Below, Flitwick and Ampthill SCC sea scouts commemorate the county day
In 2016 the flag was raised by a number of civic authorities and other bodies
and it has appeared consistently
over Woburn Abbey, in the county.
Lord-Lieutenant of the county, Helen Nellis, stands below, beside the county flag with cadets from Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Service, Beds & Herts Army Cadet Force, Beds and Cambs Wing ATC and Bedfordshire Sea Cadets
we see the flag with Mayor Of Bedford Dave Hodgson, right, on Bedfordshire Day 2019.