Lost Medieval treasure from Worksop is thousands of miles away in New York

The Tickhill psalter.
The Tickhill psalter.

Worksop is already a key contributor to medieval Christian heritage, being home to the Priory Church which has served as the town’s landmark since the 1100s.

But many residents may not know Worksop also once housed another medieval treasure- a 14th century illuminated manuscript named the Tickhill Psalter.

The Tickhill psalter.

The Tickhill psalter.

The volume contains 482 illustrations of the story of King David and Solomon, and was originally part of the Priory’s library.

The name most likely derives from the fact that it was produced by prior John de Tickhill, who as his name would suggest came from the nearby village of Tickhill, in South Yorkshire.

The psalter remained at Worksop until the dissolution in 1539, when it was lost to the town.

It eventually turned up in the library of the Marquess of Lothian in the 18th century.

But the psalter is now a long way from home– it was bought by the New York Public Library in 1932 and has remained there ever since.

Adrian Gray, historical advisor to Historical Advisor to Pilgrims and Prophets and Bassetlaw Christian Heritage, is calling for the psalter to be returned to Worksop as a fitting way to mark the anniversary of the Pilgrim Fathers in 2020.

Mr Gray said: “The Tickhill Psalter was one of thousands of medieval treasure looted at the time of the Reformation by local gentry, who saw a quick chance for a fast profit or the chance to enrich their personal libraries.

“So the single greatest piece of art from medieval north Nottinghamshire disappeared into someone’s library only to surface four centuries later in a sale of the Marquess of Lothian’s ‘possessions.’

“It was sold for $61,000 in Jan. 1932 in a deal that Donald Dickinson, in his “Dictionary of American Antiquarian Bookdealers”, makes clear was somewhat murky.

“How it got into Lothian’s collection is not known, but it is a shame for the people of Worksop and Tickhill that it is thousands of miles away.

“Whereas it is one item of many in New York, back here it would be a great regional attraction.

“Maybe the psalter could be returned in time for ‘Mayflower 400’?”

Find out more about Worksoo’s rich historical heritage at https://bassetlawchristianheritage.com.