THE appearance of the present volume is the accomplishment of an object which I have long wished to see realized, but which I had hoped would be taken in hand by someone more fitted for the work than myself. It has seemed to me that a district so interesting and beautiful as that of Worksop, had claims to be made known by the aid both of pen and pencil, more widely than it has been in previous publications.
A complete history of Worksop is by no means attempted in these pages. In the prospectus which was issued some months ago, only a brief notice was promised of the town and neighbourhood; of its long line of ancient lords; of its ecclesiastical antecedents; and of its nearly forgotten antiquarian relics. In attempting to fulfil this promise, my aim throughout has been as far as possible to ensure correctness. By frequent visits to the British Museum, and by reference to other acknowledged sources of information, I have sought to verify every historical fact given, and I believe no statement of importance has been made without some competent authority having been consulted.
I have to regret that during the. time this work has been in preparation, one whose friendly suggestions were always welcome, has departed to his rest. I allude to Mr. John Holland, of Sheffield, the genial and amiable author of the "History of Worksop;" a book published in 1826, but which during the life of its author was never sufficiently appreciated.
To many helpers in the work my sincere thanks are due. Especially would I acknowledge my obligations to the Rev. J. Stacye, M.A., for his valuable assistance during the entire progress of the work, and for his admirable paper on "The Ancient History of Sherwood Forest." I would express my thanks also to the Venerable Archdeacon Trollope, for the free use of his valuable paper on the monastic remains, for all his good wishes, and for the loan of the wood engraving of the Worksop Priory Gatehouse; to C. Tylden-Wright, Esq., for his valuable chapter on the Geology of the district, and for the section which illustrates it; and to Captain A. E. Lawson Lowe for his pedigree of the early Lords of Worksop.
I would also thankfully acknowledge the kindness of William Howitt, in allowing me to make use of his chapter on Sherwood Forest in his work "The Rural Life of England?" To W. J. Sterland, Esq., I am gratefully indebted for his interesting chapter on the Zoology of the Forest; to R. E. Brameld, Esq., for his valuable list of the Lepidoptera; and also to my old friend Dr. Spencer T. Hall, "the Sherwood Forester," for recounting the glories of his native realm, "The Land of Robin Hood."
My old friends Christopher Thomson and Charles Reece Pemberton I cannot thank. They have passed away from this life. But their memories remain fresh in the minds of those who had the pleasure of their acquaintance. I never think of the latter without pleasurably calling to mind how he used to return from his rambles in the woods around Worksop, decorated from head to foot with ferns and evergreens.
To Earl Manvers I am specially grateful for his kindness in granting me the use of the MSS. in his possession, and which are quoted in the following pages as the "Thoresby MS."
To H. R. Gilson, Esq., I am thankfully indebted for his kindly arranging the papers of our old friend John Bohler, on the Flora of the Forest, and for his correcting the proof sheets of that chapter.
I think the illustrations will commend themselves to persons of taste. I have adhered to no particular style, but have adopted that in each case which I thought would produce the best results. In connection with these, my thanks are due to H. R. Page, Esq., for his skilful drawing on wood of the "Old Ship Inn;" to Theophilus Smith, Esq., for his draw ing on wood of the "Servants' Hall, at Rufford Abbey," from a water-colour drawing by the late Christopher Thomson; this latter drawing is in the possession of John Guest, Esq., of Rotherham, to whom my thanks are due for its loan. For the several drawings on wood by Mr. Sidney Starr, and for those of the Forest scenery by W. H. J. Boot, Esq., I also tender my thanks.
My thanks are due and are cheerfully tendered to the Curators of the Bodleian Library, for their courtesy in granting me the use of the engraved plate in their possession, of the facsimile of lease.
The aid and countenance of so many able contributors give me the confidence to hope that the volume now issued will meet with the approval of the reader. That it may minister to the instruction as well as the gratification of those into whose hands it may fall, is my wish. How far this wish may be realized, I know not. I can only add, that I have done my best to render the work worthy of the perusal, and to make it a befitting companion of those who, when visiting Worksop and its neighbourhood, may desire to know something of the past history of places, the beauties of which excite their present interest.
Worksop, December, 1874.