Sunday, 31 October 2010

Conisbrough Castle gets Lottery funding

Conisbrough Castle has just received £60,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to improve the facilities for this important South Yorkshire attraction it was reported by the BBC yesterday.

Doncaster Council and English Heritage (who manage the site) will be looking for a further £1 million grant in the next year and a half.

Further details on the castle can be found on their website: or via the BBC

Battle of Worksop 16 December 1460-Now on Wikipedia

I'm still trying to hack into the history of the Battle of Worksop and have now added a Wikipedia page.  This is how it's going at present: 

'''Battle of Worksop''' is a skirmish during the [[Wars of the Roses]], near the town of [[Worksop]], [[Nottinghamshire]] on December 16th 1460 which became the precursor to the [[Battle of Wakefield]] on 30th December 1460.

There is very scant evidence of what happened during this event and the only contempory account comes from [[William of Worcester]] in his book [[Annales rerum Anglicarum]] where he states “The Duke of York, with the Earl of Salisbury and many thousand armed men, were going from London to York, in December 1460, when a portion of his men, the van, as is supposed, or perhaps the scouts… were cut off by the people of the Duke of Somerset, Edmund Beaufort at Worksop” (2). Is is worthy to note that Edmund at this time was not the Duke of Somerset, this position being held by his elder brother [[Henry Beaufort]] (1436-1464) who was one of the principal commanders at the [[Battle of Wakefield]] (5).

It is not known why Richard of York's men decided to come to the Lancastrian stronghold of Worksop. It could have been to get food for the Yorkist army marching north, to check on the forces situated around the town or retribution towards [[Worksop Manor]] where the 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury/3rd Earl of Waterford (Ireland), [[John Talbot]] (born c.1413) and his younger brother Christopher Talbot had been killed at the [[Battle of Northampton]] on 10 July 1460. Revenge was certainly in order as John had been given Richard's land in Wakefield in 1459(4).  Also Richard had a personal vendetta against the Earl's of Somerset, possibly due to Edmund's father [[Edmund Beaufort]]'s disastrous campaigns which ended the [[Hundred Years War]]. 

There is no physical evidence of the battle except perhaps a section of skull in [[Worksop Priory]] with a bodkin arrowhead lodged firmly in it.  This is visible to members of the public and located in the north aisle of the church towards the west end.

== References ==
(1) The Battle of Wakefield Revisited: A Fresh Perspective on Richard of York's Final Battle, December 1460  by Helen R. Cox
(2)Annales rerum Anglicarum by William of Worcester
(3) Battle of Worksop-A Personal Interpretation by David Cook. Priories Historical Society January 2010 Newsletter

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Priories Historical Society talks 2011 (Part 2)

11th April 2011
 DEATH & DYING. The resurrection Men - Talk by Joan Grundy
Have you recently seen the film Burke & Hare? This is the true story of the grisly trade of body snatching, once a huge problem for churches and mortuaries to deal with.

9th May 2011
LIFE OF A NATIVE AMERICAN - Talk by Roger Boshauer.
Another amazing insight by this real life descendant of the native American Pocahontas.
Come and find out the REAL history of the Native Americans!

20th June 2011
ANGLO SAXONS & THEIR DRESS – Talk by Sam Glasswell
The history of the Anglo-Saxon period in England, their lives, dress and decoration.  Sam is the Head Curator of the Bassetlaw Museum at Retford.
18th July 2011
One of the local important families of Norman descent, many of whom are buried in the priory at Worksop. They were Lords of the Manor at Worksop and Hallamshire for many decades. A return of this excellent speaker. 

12th September 2011 - TBA

10th October 2011
LIVING IN HOPE – Talk by Sue Allen
This talk coincides with the launch of the new book by this internationally known author and expert. The lives of three women including the wife of a Napoleonic Soldier are brought back to life in this amazing talk.

7th November 2011
MONTHLY MENU OF MIRTH - Talk by Margaret Harrison.
Margaret is a very popular and well known speaker. This talk takes a look at the calender months with their history, myths and legends.
When did you last see a church dedicated to St. Valentine?

19th December 2011
Come on by relax and talk about whatever you want to.  Make sure to bring some cake!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Sherwood Forest Doomed?

The ancient forest of Sherwood could be doomed to logging and development it has been leaked in the press.  Despite prices for British wood being far less competitive than that of the Scandinavian countries the government has decided as part of its austerity plans that it may sell thousands of acres of Forestry Commission land.  This change will also change the protection rights of this world famous woodland habitat protected since the Magna Carta.
This sale could possibly destroy hundreds of important sites with untapped archaeological interest as well as destroying the ancient characteristic of the Bassetlaw area.  It would also remove vast swathes of the roughly 1,000 hectares of important natural history of the county which would be irreplaceable.  So if you’re interested in saving rainforests you may need to look closer to home and quickly to protect the few remaining areas of large woodland in the UK.
DEFRA have so far refused to comment but it is likely to in the next few days.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Battle of Worksop 16 December 1460

As some of you may already be aware the 550th anniversary of this battle is coming up.  In order to celebrate this precursor to the Battle of Wakefield below is a piece of research I did for our magazine in January 2010:

One of the least talked about battles of the 'Wars of the Roses' but possibly one of the most important early battles as it could have altered the whole of English history took place near Worksop around December 16th 1460.

In October 1460 Richard of York had declared the Act of Accord which parliament passed on 25th. This sealed him and his sons as the future Kings of England after Henry VI's death, which was unacceptable to Henry's son and caused the Lancastrian forces in the north to gather an army together. Richard marched out of London on December 9th with Lord Salisbury and the Earl of Rutland and a supposed 6,000 strong force to muster an opposing army to destroy the northern uprising.

There is only one contemporary account of the battle written by William Worcester, a chronicler in his book 'Annales rerum Anglicarum': The Duke of York, with the Earl of Salisbury and many thousand armed men, were going from London to York, in December 1460, when a portion of his men, the van, as is supposed, or perhaps the scouts… were cut off by the people of the Duke of Somerset, Edmund Beaufort at Worksop”

It is important to know which portion of the Duke of Somerset's army they faced; Unfortunately Williams account fails to mention this. Somerset's army started out at Corfe Castle, in Dorset, his cavalry and footmen then split into two groups at Exeter allowing the horses to get up north quicker. They were to rendezvous with Queen Margaret at Hull although other accounts have the main army at York at this time after the Lancastrians had seized the town. The most likely route to the north would have been on the Fosse Way diverting north on the Great North Road at Newark – this would be the quickest way and probably the best maintained (Newark had a new bridge built over the Trent in the late 1450s).

Worksop Manor was on the Lancastrians side owned by the Talbot Family (Earls of Shrewsbury), John Talbot was slain at the Battle of Northampton a few months earlier and had only recently been buried in the Priory. He was quite a prominent member of Parliament before the Yorkists had taken over and removed any Lancastrian members from power. Worksop was a Market town and as the saying goes 'an army marches on its stomach'. Food would be scarce at this time of year which is why warfare at this period of history was normally confined between Easter and September. Were Richards’s men in the area searching for food or revenge? Perhaps they were just unlucky and Beaufort was staying at the Manor just before heading north?

Williams text refers to Richard travelling to York but would he have time to travel from Worksop to York and back across to Sandal in 5 days? Keith Dockray and Richard Knowles report on the 'Battle of Wakefield' describe widespread flooding at this time; this would make the progress slow, cumbersome and miserable. This 90 mile distance seems just about plausible on well maintained roads but with the weather conditions and a large army 18 miles a day must have been nigh on impossible. But by then York was a captured city in control of forces loyal to Henry. Why then did Richard go so far north - had his scouts failed him again? This seems the only plausible reason this small castle was chosen for an army which was way too big to be supported by it. If I were Richard I would have waited at either Doncaster or Nottingham or maybe Conisbrough (assuming this was still under his control) and waited for reinforcements rather than march all the way up to Sandal (Although the defences at Sandal are larger than Conisbrough). The only other castle in this area which was large enough to take an army was Sheffield, but this was under Lancastrian control under the Talbot family.

For some reason Richard didn't gather the rest of his forces together to destroy Somerset's army which would have changed the balance at the forthcoming Battle of Wakefield. Maybe he was desperate to get north or maybe the Duke of Somerset's contingent fled before a proper confrontation ensued? Whatever the reason he was killed on December 30th in battle and the 'Wars of the Roses' raged on for another 27 years.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Raymoth Lane Talk/Sheffield Heritage Day

Todays talk at Worksop library by Bassetlaw Museum's Sam Glasswell went really well, I was unable to attend due to work but about 30 people attended.

Don't forget the next meeting is on 15th November and is about the Great Sheffield Flood of 1864.

Also Sheffield Heritage Day is on the 20th November at the Showroom.  Hope to see you there :)

Friday, 15 October 2010

Raymoth Lane Talk at Worksop Library

Just a quick reminder that Sam Glasswell from Bassetlaw Museum will be talking about the Raymoth Lane dig at the new library in Worksop on Thursday, 20th October.  We've got a display on about Romano-British life in the local area as well as our very own Pam Cook attending to answer questions on what our society helped with on the dig.  The talk is between 14.00-16.00. 

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Priories Historical Society talks 2011

January17th-METAL DETECTING talk by Brian Booth.
Brian is a member of Warsop Metal Detecting Club and has agreed to give a talk on this fascinating subject. He will talk about local finds, artefacts and how you can get involved with this important field of archaeology. Some objects which are commonly found and discarded such as spindle whorls can be important finds and Brian will hopefully be able to tell us how to distinguish the important from the not so important!

February 14th-LOST HISTORICAL HOUSES talk by Roy Newman.This well known speaker returns to talk about local historical houses. This talk will look at the hundreds of country houses, estates and seats of the peers that have now disappeared into history.

March 14th-CASTLES AND ABBEYS talk by Pat McLaughlin.This well known speaker returns to the society with another fascinating talk.In this talk Pat takes a look at the wealth of castles in our area, from the early Norman examples to what happened to them. He also talks about our local abbeys, their impact on the local area and what impact Henry VIII's dissolution had on them.

All talks at Oldcotes Village Hall. Talks start at 19.30.  Entrance £3 for non-members £2 for members. Membership £5 per year and includes a free copy of the magazine we publish three times a year.

Shireoaks Heritage Fair 2010

The group attended the Shireoaks Heritage Fair on 9th October.  The event was a great success with many visitors attending.

We handed out plenty of flyers to those visiting so hopefully this will encourage many new members or casual attendees to our meetings in the future.

Next years meetings will be posted shortly on here.