Worksop Priory

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Coordinates: 53°18′13″N 01°06′56″W / 53.30361°N 1.11556°W / 53.30361; -1.11556

Worksop Priory
The Priory Church of Our Lady and St Cuthbert
Worksop Priory - - 1041294.jpg
Worksop Priory
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Anglo Catholic
Website Official website
Dedication Our Lady and St. Cuthbert
Parish Worksop Priory
Archdeaconry Newark
Diocese Southwell and Nottingham
Province York
Bishop(s) Glyn Webster, Bishop of Beverley (PEV)
Vicar(s) Fr Nicolas Spicer SSC
Honorary priest(s) Fr David James. Fr John Willett. Fr Brian Cooper
Fr Martyn Jarrett
Fr Alan Hirst
Fr John Statham

Reader Mrs Gill James

Director of Music Mr Mark Rothman
Asst Curate(s) Fr Michael Vyse
The nave of the priory, facing east

Worksop Priory (formally the Priory Church of Our Lady and Saint Cuthbert, Worksop) is a Church of England parish church and former priory in the town of Worksop, Nottinghamshire, part of the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham and under the episcopal care of the Bishop of Beverley.

The church is Grade I listed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as a building of outstanding architectural or historic interest.


The initial land grant and monies to establish the Augustinian priory were made by William de Lovetot in 1103. In 1187 Philip, the Canon of Lincoln Cathedral, gave the Worksop Bestiary, an illuminated manuscript that is now at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York.[1][2] In the 14th century the Tickhill Psalter was produced by the prior, John de Tickhill.

The priory was dissolved on the orders of Henry VIII on 15 November 1539. The property was granted to Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury on condition that the Earl should provide a glove for the right hand of the sovereign at the coronation. This tradition continues to this day.

Over time most of the former monastic buildings were plundered for their stone, but the nave of the church was saved for use as a parish church, and the early 14th century gatehouse was used as a school. Extensive restoration and enlargements of the church began in the mid-19th century and continued through the 20th century.

In mid-2017 a face was uncovered, carved into one of the Priory walls, during renovation works. The face was estimated to date back to the year 980 AD, but the wall was finished around 1260 AD. It may have been a felt stone[clarification needed] that someone decided to decorate before it was lime-washed over.[3]

Repairs and restorations

  • 1760 A western gallery was erected across the nave.
  • 1784 A gallery was erected along the north side.
  • 1845–49 A restoration by R. Nicholson of Lincoln. The church was re-roofed, new foundations were provided to the south tower and the pillars and south aisle were pulled back to vertical.
  • 1879 New organ by Brindley & Foster of Sheffield.
  • 1883 Repairs to the south tower. Two bells added increasing the ring from six to eight.
  • 1912 Gatehouse restored.
  • 1922 Lady chapel restored by Thomas Pepper and re-dedicated.
  • 1929 Opening up of the south transept.
  • 1932 Building of the north transept and turret to the central tower.
  • 1935 Blocking walls at the end of the nave were removed, creating a single space between the nave and transepts.
  • 1974 Choir built by Laurence King. New organ by Peter Collins.


Previous clergy

Priors of Worksop

Source: [2]

Vicars of Worksop

Source: [3]


The painted organ case was designed by Peter Collins, in co-operation with the architects, Laurence King and Partners, and constructed in mahogany in its main parts with pine-cored block wood panels. The case has a tonal as well as an architectural function, mixing the sound of the pipes and projecting it forwards as a blended whole. The specification was drawn up by David Butterworth and is almost identical to that of St Mary's Church, Nottingham.[4] The pipes, of which there are 1634, are of various materials ranging in tin content from 90% in the façade pipes to 20% for some flute stops. Copper and pine are used for other registers. With the exception of 24 small pipes in the pedal case, all the front pipes are speaking. The reed pipes are by Giesecke of Germany; the flues by Stinkins of Holland and Peter Collins; the cymbelstern is by Laukhuff, also of Germany.

The console at the foot of the central display pipes is constructed of oak; the naturals are of hard ‘blackwood' and the accidentals are white resin topped. The manual compass is of 56 notes; the pedal compass of 30 notes.

The style of voicing and the general approach to its construction has origins in the 17th and 18th centuries, rather than the more familiar instrument to be found in England. The balance of stops is in keeping with classical registration and the ‘Werk-Prinzip' of the case is designed to project the sound into the priory building.

For the mechanism of the key and pedal action, direct connection by trackers of thin wood are used to the control valves, giving the performer control over the attack and decay of each note. The stop action is electric. There are six pistons to each department and six toe levers for the pedal department. There are also eight general pistons.

The organ was reconstructed in 1996 by Wood of Huddersfield. It was cleaned and regulated and the soundboards were reconstructed. The keys were renewed; Swell Octave 2 ft replaced with new pipework by Stinkens; Cymbelstern added; entire stop action (slider solenoids excepted) was remade
with Alan Taylor solid state; sequencer added.


  • John Hilton Turvey c. 1840[5]
  • George Walker ???? - 1854[6] - 1861[7] - ????
  • F. Staton ????–1865–1879[8]
  • Hamilton White c. 1880[9]
  • Revd. J.T. Bingley c. 1887[10] - 1891[11]
  • Thomas Pickford 1891 – 1892[12] - ???? (formerly organist of Christ Church, Banbury)
  • H.J. Greenfield ???? - 1920[13]
  • John Newton 1920 - ???? (formerly assistant organist of St Edmundsbury Cathedral)
  • Stanley H Mayes ???? - 1923[14]
  • Cecil Victor Berry
  • Ellis White
  • David Burnham
  • Leslie Carrick Smith
  • Michael Overbury
  • Mark Rothman 2016- present


See also



  1. ^ "Catalogue description of the Worksop Bestiary" (PDF). Catalogue description. The Pierpont Morgan Library. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  2. ^ Badke, David (January 15, 2011). "Morgan Library, MS M.81 (The Worksop Bestiary)". Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  3. ^ "Priory 'face' could date back to 980 AD". Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ York Herald - 18 July 1840
  6. ^ Nottinghamshire Guardian - 6 April 1854
  7. ^ Nottinghamshire Guardian -19 September 1861
  8. ^ Sheffield Independent - 28 April 1879
  9. ^ Sheffield Daily Telegraph - 27 January 1880
  10. ^ Sheffield Independent - 29 December 1887
  11. ^ Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Monday 12 October 1891
  12. ^ Sheffield Independent -23 November 1892
  13. ^ Sheffield Evening Telegraph - 10 January 1920
  14. ^ Derby Daily Telegraph - 28 January 1943

Other sources

  • A brief history of Worksop Priory. Worksop Priory website (accessed 24 December 2005).
  • White, Robert (1875) Worksop, The Dukery, and Sherwood Forest. Transcription at Nicholson, AP: Nottinghamshire History (Accessed 24 December 2005).

External links

  • Official website
  • Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham
  • Pipe organ information
  • The Priory: its foundation and Dissolution
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