Worksop: Town to play a lead role in Christian heritage plans

Richard Bernard was a Worksop clergyman who was a great puritan writer and associate of the Pilgrim Fathers
Richard Bernard was a Worksop clergyman who was a great puritan writer and associate of the Pilgrim Fathers

The ‘spiritual heritage’ of Worksop has been identified as as a key factor in the future development of tourism by both Bassetlaw Council and Notts County Council.

As a result, a working group of churches in Worksop and Retford has now been formed to co-ordinate planning and to improve what can be offered to both adults and young people.

A social enterprise group, Pilgrims & Prophets, has been formed to promote Christian heritage tours.

Until recently most interest has tended to centre on the Pilgrim Fathers, who went to America in 1620.

However the Pilgrims & Prophets group will cover a wider story, telling how Christians from this part of England changed the world between 600AD and the present day.

“We intend to start our tours in Worksop because the Priory has a fantastic story to tell as a great medieval building in its own right, but also because of its links with the Crusades,” said Gerard Pointer, the group chairman.

“However, it goes further than that.”

“We intend to shine new light on the important role of Gateford’s John Lassells, who was burnt at the stake, and the role of his family in the execution of Catherine Howard by Henry VIII.”

Tour groups will hear about the origins of the puritans and the Pilgrims whilst at Worksop.

But they will also hear about the town’s clergyman, Richard Bernard, who was a great puritan writer and a close associate of those who went to America.

Bernard’s daughter Mary married another clergyman, Roger Williams, with whom she went to America where they founded the first Baptist Church in that continent and started the state of Rhode Island.

Another Worksop woman, Jane Hodgkin, fled to Holland and married one of the first leaders of the English Baptist Church.”But there is more than this,” continued Pontier, “villages such as Tickhill and Blyth witnessed riotous scenes in the first days of the Quaker movement.”

Over the next few weeks, the Worksop Guardian will be bringing some of these stories to life.

Pilgrims & Prophets will also be arranging some coach tours so that local people can visit the sites and hear the full stories, with the first running on 25th April.

Tours are run at cost price and include lunch.

To book a place, email mail@pilgrimsandprophets.co.uk or call or text 07586 732462.

For more information on the Pilgrims & Prophets social enterprise group, visit their website at www.prophetsandpilgrims.co.uk