Battle of Worksop was a skirmish during the Wars of the Roses, near the town of Worksop, Nottinghamshire on 16 December 1460, part of the campaign which led to the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December.

There is very scant evidence of what happened during this event and the only contemporary account comes from William of Worcester in his book Annales rerum Anglicarum, in which he stated (Translation from Latin):

In December Parliament adjourned. And 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 at Worsop" [Worksop].[1]

Somerset had marched from Corfe Castle, Dorset[2] and was heading north towards the rest of the Lancastrian army which had been based in Hull before moving onto Pontefract. It is not known how many men Beaufort had at Worksop as he had split up his cavalry and footmen at Exeter move more quickly to the north.[3]

It is supposed that York's men had diverted off the Great North Road to get to Sandal Castle,[2] though it is not clear why they went via Worksop. The area was under Lancastrian control, with the closest area securely held by the Yorkists being at Doncaster There was widespread flooding at the time[4] which would have made travelling difficult and food hard to find. A market was held in Worksop every Thursday and scouting parties may have been sent there to look for supplies. The most plausible reason however would have been to check on the Lancastrian forces situated around the town or for retribution towards Worksop Manor, where the Earl of Shrewsbury and his younger brother Christopher Talbot had been killed at the Battle of Northampton on 10 July that year. Revenge was certainly in order as the Earl of Shrewsbury had been given Richard of York's land in Wakefield in 1459.[5] Also Richard of York had a personal vendetta against the Beauforts, ever since the 2nd Duke of Somerset's disastrous handling of the final campaigns of 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.


  1. ^ Annales rerum Anglicarum, William of Worcester, reproduced in 1774 (Editor: Thomas Hearne) published by B. White, London, as Liber niger Scaccarii: nec non Wilhelmi Worcestrii Annales rerum anglicarum, cum præfatione et appendice Thomæ Hearnii ad editionem primam Oxonæ editam, Volume 2 quote appears as original in a Latin section at page 484, paragraph commencing "En mensis Decembris"
  2. ^ a b Rayner, Michael. English Battlefields. Stroud: Tempus. p. 369. ISBN 0-7524-2978-7. 
  3. ^ Battle of Worksop-A Personal Interpretation by David Cook. Priories Historical Society January 2010 Newsletter
  4. ^ The Battle of Wakefield in great detail Archived July 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ [luminarium.org/encyclopedia/johntalbot2.htm]


  • Cox, Helen R. The Battle of Wakefield Revisited: A Fresh Perspective on Richard of York's Final Battle, December 1460.