Molde, or Matilda, de Furnival was during the early part of her widowhood engaged in disputes with the canons of the Priory, and especially with Prior Walter, so that she only gave them a mark from her mill at Worksop, yearly, for a pittance, on the anniversary of her husband’s death; but in 1249 she had received back the offending Walter into her favour, and then confirmed all the grants of her family, to which she added fresh gifts, viz., a wood in Worksop, of the extraordinary name of Staddeburgchaoed, all the land she had in Wellum (Welham), and other property in Gringley, &c. She is consequently highly praised by the Priory metrical chronicler, Pigot, who says of her—

"Goode Molde was beryed most principall
Above Sr Thomas Nevill afore the hye autere,
For a goode doer most worthie of all
That indued this place; and her husband in fere
To reherse what she did, dyvers things sere
As expressed afore, it wolde tahe long space,
Bot in Heven therfore we trust is there place."

Gerard de Furnival, the next lord of Worksop, gave the third part of his mills in Bradfield, with the suit of his men of the sok of Bradfield to the Priory. He was buried under a stall in St. Mary’s chapel, with only a portion of his tombstone exposed to view. He was succeeded by his brother Thomas, who confirmed the above-named grants, as did his son Thomas; to which was added £4 a year by Bertha, widow of Thomas de Furnival, for her life, from the same mills at Bradfield. But yet the Prior of Worksop was compelled to bring a lawsuit against this Thomas, for making such waste and havoc amongst the timber of the park, as to prevent the supply of dry wood for the use of the canons, granted to them by his ancestor Gerard.

In 1270 this Thomas had licence granted to build a castle at his manor of Sheffield, and agreed with the canons of Worksop to provide him with the services of two chaplains and a clerk at his castle, to whom he engaged to pay five marks a year as their remuneration. He died about 1279, and his body was supposed to be discovered in the foundations of Sheffield castle when it was demolished; and a slab above a stone coffin was said to have been disclosed, bearing the following inscription

I Lord Furnival
I built this Castle hall
And under this wall
Within this tomb was my burial

But this epitaph has clearly been greatly tampered with, even if such a slab was really found at all.

He was succeeded by his son, Thomas de Furnival the third, who was the great man of the family. He was the first of them summoned to Parliament as a baron of the realm from 22nd Edward I., 1294, to the 6th Edward III., 1332 when he died, though it appears by an inquisition held by royal appointment 19th Edward II., that he was not really a baron, as he held none of his lands by baronial tenure. He was a considerable benefactor to Worksop to which he procured a grant of a market and fair, or rather it would seem, a confirmation of those which already existed. This grant bears date 24th Edward I., and was renewed by succeeding sovereigns, it states that the market is to be held on Wednesday and the fair on the eve, the day and morrow of the Feast of St. Cuthbert, (the patron saint of the Priory) and on the five following days. This Thomas was twice married first to Joan, daughter of Hugh de Spencer, and secondly to Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Peter de Montford, widow of William de Monticate. He died in 1332.

He was succeeded by his son, the fourth of the same name. This Thomas did not long survive his father and never enjoyed the Worksop estate, as that together with several other manors was settled upon his father’s second wife, who lived long after her husband, having died in 1354 and was buried in Christ’s Church, Oxford, where her tomb still exists. He married Joan, daughter and co-heiress of Theobald de Verdun, of Alveton Castle. He died Oct. 14th, 1339, and was buried in Beauchief Abbey. His only transaction with the canons of Worksop was the commutation of his tithes from the manor of Sheffield, for a fixed annual ‘money payment to the Priory, agreed on by both parties in 1328.

Mutilated monuments in the Priory Church, Worksop (c. 1875). Left: Lord Thomas Furnival, 'The Hasty' (?); Middle: Lady Maude Nevil; Right: Sir Thomas Nevil.

He left two sons—a fifth Thomas, surnamed "The Hasty," and William. The former was liberal towards the Priory, but in what way is not recorded; Pigot merely saying of him,

"Which Thomas, sterne and right hasty man
The hasty Fournivall, but he was good founder
To the place of Wyrksoppe."

He was buried in 1366 on the north side of the Priory Church, above the high choir. The upper portion of his effigy in alabaster is still preserved in Worksop church, but in a mutilated condition. Round the conical bascinet of the period a rich garland was a carved, part of which still remains, and on the jupon may be traced the Furnival bearings. Tufts of foliage enriched the edge of the slab on which the effigy reposed, and angels supported the cushion beneath its head. This monument is described by Gough, but not correctly.

Thomas, having no issue, was succeeded by his brother William, he died April 12th, 1383, leaving, by Thomasia his wife, an only daughter and heiress, Joan, married to Sir Thomas Nevil brother of Ralph, Iist Earl of Westmorland. William, the last male heir of the Furnivals, was buried on the south side of the Priory church, above the high choir, and opposite his brother Thomas. Sir Thomas Nevil was summoned to Parliament as Lord Furnival in right of his wife. He embraced the cause of Bolingbroke against Richard II., and was made Treasurer of England; to him also was entrusted the two-fifteenths granted by Parliament to Henry iv. for the defence of his government. He bequeathed his body to be buried in the Priory church of Worksop, "without any great pomp," leaving £40 to the fabric of its tower or towers, and the rents of certain lands in Worksop for the purpose of keeping his obit with "placebo" and "dirige" annually, and for a Mass of "requiem" on the following day. He died in 1406, and was buried beneath a stately alabaster monument above the high choir, Pigot saying,

"And Sr Thomas Nevill Treasorer of England,
Aboven the quere is tumulate, his tumbe is to see
In the middes, for most royall there it doth stand."

A part of the effigy from this monument still exists at Worksop, but in a more mutilated state than that of Thomas, Lord Furnival. It has the same camail and gussets of mail, the same bascinet, and enriched hip sword-belt; but the head in this instance reposes on a tilting helmet. On the jupon is indicated the saltier of the house of Nevil, with a martlet as a mark of difference. His wife Joan, who died previously, viz, in 1395, was buried on the left side of her husband and near him. Her monumental slab is now in Barlborough church, and still retains a portion of its inscription. In 1707, as stated in "Church Notes," written by Bassano the herald painter of Derby, in that year, it ran thus :—"Hic jacet …

Johanna fil … haec … Willielmi Fournival … Tho…" In the dexter chief corner was a saltier the arms of Nevil, in the sinister those of Furnival; and at the bottom of the monument these two coats were impaled together on an escutcheon, supported by two talbots collared and belted. It has been suggested with much probability by Hunter, in his "History of Hallamshire," p. 57, that Judge Rodes, who was seneschal to the Earl of Shrewsbury at the time of the Reformation, might have obtained this monument from the Priory church when it was in ruins, as an interesting memorial of one of that family from whom his patron had inherited a vast estate; and that he carried it off to the church at Barlborough, in which parish his newly acquired estate was situated.

On the death of Thomas Nevil, Lord Furnival, the Worksop estates passed away to another noble family, that of Talbot; Sir Thomas Nevil’s only daughter Matilda (by Joan, the Furnival heiress), having previously married John, the brother of Gilbert, Lord Talbot. In her right he was summoned to Parliament as Baron Furnival, in 1409. Afterwards in 1442, for his great military services he was created Earl of Shrewsbury, by Henry VI., and Earl of Waterford in 1446; he was also made a Knight of the Garter, High Steward of Ireland, Marshal of France, and by his father Lord Chancellor of Ireland. By Shakespere he was termed "the great Alcides," and by others "the scourge of France," from his long and usually successful services in that country, on the part of England; but he was at length slain there at the siege of Chatillon, July 17, 1453, in the 80th year of his age; and was buried at Whitchurch. His wife Matilda was buried in Worksop Priory church:

"In Saynt Mary Chappell tumulate lyeth shee
Afore our blessed Lady, nest the stall side
There may she be scene, she is not to hyde."

He was succeeded by his son John, the second Earl of Shrewsbury, who was a faithful adherent of the house of Lancaster. He was with his father both in France and Ireland. In the 35th Henry VI., anno. 1456, he was made Lord Treasurer of England. He fell at the battle of Northampton, July 10th, 1460, and was buried in the chapel of St. Mary at Worksop, between the alter and the tomb of his mother, and willed "that his executors make a tomb for him according to the exigency of his state."


Salopia comitis lapis hic tegit ossa Johannis,
Cui nihil antiquius, quam fuit alma fides.
Hanc ut servaret regi tormenta subivit,
Intrepidus ferri, sanguineamque necem.
Ergo licet parvum condat sua viscera saxum,
Virtus Angligenum lustrat in omne solum.