Moot halls were normally assembly rooms where local citizens met to discuss and debate local issues, and that at Elstow, Bedfordshire, did eventually become something of the kind. But when it was built (in the fifteenth century) its purpose was to house several shops which serviced both the nearby abbey and the fair which came to town twice yearly. John Bunyan was born in the parish of Elstow and his Pilgrim's Protest used this market as the inspiration for Vanity Fair. The moot hall contains lots of Bunyan-related artefacts including the doors of the Bedford town and county jails in which Bunyan was imprisoned.
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