Monday, April 6, 2009
MOOT HALL AND SEALED KNOT LIVING HISTORY
Sealed Knot Living History Event and Moot Hall Key Handover Ceremony
On Sunday Elstow Village Green was the setting for a Sealed Knot Living History event with people in 17th century dress and Cromwellian solders marching across the Green. In the afternoon the ownership of Elstow's 15th Century Moot Hall was formerly handed over by me, as Elstow's former County Councillor, to my Borough colleague Councillor Barry Huckle who accepted the key to Moot Hall on behalf of Bedford Borough Council. In the photograph above you can see me with Clive Arnold, the Curator of Moot Hall and Barry just before the official key handover. The Sealed Knot soldiers paraded in front of us while the ceremony took place.
Moot Hall was originally a market hall and now houses a museum dedicated to John Bunyan a fine collection of 17th Century furniture. John Bunyan lived in Elstow most of his life and was baptised and married in Elstow Abbey. In 1644 he joined Cromwell's Roundhead Army at 16 years old to fight the King so it is appropriate that the Sealed Knot held their Living History event in Elstow.
Elstow is North Bedfordshire's most historic village with its 11th Century Abbey Church, founded by William the Conqueror's niece Countess Judith, Moot Hall and the 16th Century timbered houses in the High Street. In 1950 Moot Hall was given by Sam Whitbread to Bedfordshire County Council and was restored for the 1951 Festival Britain. Also in 1951 a special stone was placed in Harrowden near Elstow, to mark the birthplace of John Bunyan in 1628.