It was founded by William de Lovetot the first, and the purport of the charter is as follows :—

"Be it known to T. Archbishop of York, the Archdeacon of Nottingham, and to all the barons, clergy, and laity, French and English, in all England, and Nottinghamshire, that William de Lovetot, by the concession and consideration of Emma, his wife, and their sons (or children,) grants and confirms by his breve (or writing) the donation which he made to God, the holy church, and the canons of St. Cuthbert, of Worksop, in perpetual alms. In the first place, the whole chapelry of his whole house, with the tythes and oblations; then the Church of Worksop, in which are the said canons, with the land and tythes, and all things belonging to the said church: moreover, the fish pond, and the mill, which are near the said church, at Worksop; and all that meadow, which is by the mill and fish pond: likewise, all the tythes of the pence of all his settled revenues, as well in Normandy as in England: at Inwara, in the field of Worksop, one carucate of land; and his meadow of Cratela; and all his churches of his demesne of the honour of Blythe, viz., the churches of Gringley, of Misterton, of Walkeringham, of Normanton, of Coleston, of Willoughby, of Wishou, and his part of the church of Tyreswell, with all lands, tythes, and things belonging to the said churches: likewise the tythe of his pannage, and of honey, and of vension, of fish, and of fowl; of malt, and of all other things of which tythes are wont and ought to be given. And he wills, and firmly grants, that the aforesaid canons may truly and peaceably, freely and honourably, hold all these things, with all the liberties and free customs with which he himself holds them. This grant is witnessed by Egero Sacerdote, Wulveto Sacerdote, Ilberto Scriptore, Rogero de Lincolnia, Edone Dapifero, Erturo Praeposito, Wigero de Sancto Albino, Cont. de Shefeld, Gilberto de Gatef (ord?) Rogero de Sayendale."

He was buried on the north side of the Priory church, on the lowest step leading to the high altar; and is thus gratefully spoken of by Pigot:—

"Therefore in speciall, certes we are bounde
To pray for his soule, and his successors."

The second great benefactor of Worksop Priory was Richard, son of William de Lovetot: who first confimed his father’s grants in favour of this house, and then added several valuable gifts of his own, viz.: half the Church of Claverburgh (Clarborough), two bovates of land in Herthewic (Hardwick), the land formerly belonging to Wolnet the priest and Hugh, his brother, the whole site of the town of Worksop, near the church inclosed by its great ditch as far as Bersbrig (or Bracebridge) meadow, also without the ditch, a mill, dwelling-house, and Buselin’s meadow, besides lands in another direction partly bounded by crosses set up by himself and his son, a mill and pond at Manton, and all Sloswick. He also confirmed the grants made by his mother Emma to the Priory, viz.: a mill in Bollam, a bovate of land in Shireokes, and other lands described as lying between the bounds of Thorpe and the river along the way leading from Staveley as far as the water of Holmcar, (now constituting Shireokes park and some adjoining land), Hayton, Rampton, and Normanton, four bovates of land in Tuxford, the church and two bovates in Colston. He further granted to the canons of Worksop Priory the privilege of feeding their pigs in Runwood, and of keeping two carts in his park at Worksop for the purpose of collecting all the dry wood that might be found there.

Finally, he confirmed the grant of land in Thorp, made by Walter de Haier, and conceded by his son Roger de Haier.

The deed embodying all these valuable gifts to the Priory he laid upon the altar of its church, with the consent of his son William, in hope of thereby benefitting the souls of his father and mother, the founders, his own, and those of his son and all his relations—living and dead.

This grant was addressed to all "the sons of holy church, present and future."

His wife Cecilia, as her offering to the Priory, presented to it the church of Dinsley in Hertfordshire.

Richard de Lovetot was buried in the church he had aided to endow so richly, near his father, and a little below his grave; a "white" stone (probably marble) marking the exact spot of his burial.

The grants to the Priory were confirmed by a Bull of Alexander III., dated at Agnani, ii. kal. Feb. 1161, and by others of Henry I. and Edward II. The above-named Pope, in the same Bull, accorded the following privileges to the canons of Worksop, viz,, exemption from tithes, the presentation to their churches, the right of burial at their pleasure to all persons, except to those who might be excommunicate, leave to celebrate Divine Service during seasons of general interdict upon certain conditions, and freedom of election with regard to the Priors, but reserving the rights of the mother or parochial church—

"Salva tamen canonica justicia matricis ecclesiae et parochialium ecclesiarum de quibus mortuorum corpora assumuntur."

The third benefactor of the House was William de Lovetot, son of Richard and Cecilia; who, on the day of his father’s burial, gave to God, St. Mary, St. Cuthbert, and the canons of Radeford or Worksop, the tithes of all the rents he then had or ever should have, whether on this side of the sea or beyond it. He did not long enjoy the possession of his inheritance, dying in 1181. He was buried in the Priory church, below his father, apparently, "next the neder gree on the said payment," as Pigot informs us.

The second William de Lovetot’s early death led to a great change in the fortunes of his inheritance, for, by his wife Matilda, daughter of Walter Fitz Robert, (and through her mother nearly related to the great house of Clare) he left an only daughter, then seven years of age.

She was committed to the charge of Ralph Murdac, the sheriff of the county; and in due time the youthful heiress was given in marriage, by Richard I., to Gerard, son of Gerard de Furnival, one of his distinguished crusading followers, who was present at the siege of Acre.

That lion-hearted monarch does not appear to have exacted any fine in return for this favour; but his ignoble successor, John, afterwards demanded of the elder De Furnival a sum of four hundred marks for acquiescing in the marriage, and consequent transfer of the Lovetot estates to the house of Furnival. Eventually, however, from De Furnival’s valuable services at the battle of Mirabel, and his giving up to the king a prisoner he had taken, Conan de Leon by name (whose ransom had been fixed at four hundred marks), the fine demanded by the king was remitted.

But Gerard had another claimant to meet in the person of his wife’s cousin, Nigel de Lovetot, who disputed his right to the property of the De Lovetots. Richard de Lovetot, the heir male of the family on the death of the second William, had allowed his estates to pass to Maude his daughter and her husband; but Richard’s brother and heir, Nigel, was not so accommodating; and the question between him and De Furnival was only to be settled by the payment of a large douceur to the king, consisting of the concession of his rights in the town of Newport, and the gift of fifteen palfreys and a thousand pounds; after which the De Furnivals remained in undisputed possession of the De Lovetot estates for a period of one hundred and eighty years.

The first De Furnival benefaction to the Priory consisted of Gerard’s grant of pasturage for forty cows in Worksop Park, from Easter until Michaelmas, for the benefit of his mother’s soul—Andel, or Andeluga—and that of his brother Geoffrey, &c.; Gerard also gave the chapelry of Bradfield to the Priory. He was a firm follower of king John, in gratitude perhaps for the concession he had made to him, although upon rather costly terms. He was sent by that king from Oxford to treat with the barons; and when John was besieged himself, in the Tower of London, both Gerard de Furnival and his castle were in great danger from the support he had given to the royal cause. Shortly after, he was commanded to retire with his family to Bolsover castle, probably for his better security as well as that of the castle. After the death of John, Gerard went to Palestine, where he died, 1219; whence his body was brought for burial to Evrard, a small village between Dieppe and St. Valery, in Normandy, on his estate of Fournevall.

Thomas, the eldest son, also fell a victim in the same cause. He was slain by the Saracens, probably in the great battle of Damietta, and was buried on the spot by his brother Gerard who accompanied him; but on his return home, in answer to the pleading of his mother, he once more sought his brother’s grave, and brought back to England his remains, which were buried on the north side of Worksop Priory church, probably next below William de Lovetot the second, his grandfather. No cost was spared upon the adornment of his tomb and effigy, which last is thus spoken of by Pigot:

"With his helm on his hede will enquere
With precious stones sometyme, that were sell sere,
And a noble charbuncle on him doth he bere."

His brothers, Gerard and William de Furnival, were also buried in the Priory church, as we find from the same authority:

"Sr Gerard on the south side under a merbill stone
Next St. Peter’s Chapell is beried also,
And Sr William ther brother both flesh and bone
In our Lady Chappell was beried even tho."

His monument was of freestone, bearing this inscription:

"Me memorans palle, simili curris quia calle,
De Fournivalle, pro Willielmo rogo psalle."

He left means for the supply of five candles, to be kept always burning before the altar of the Lady Chapel in which his remains were deposited.