Worksop, the Dukeries.
The 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, George, and more especially his son Francis, the 5th Earl, befitted much by supporting Henry 8th in his dissolution of the monasteries. In 1537, when Shrewsbury’s Irish estates were passed to the crown, Henry 8th granted him the site of Rufford and other lands made vacant by the dissolution too numerous to list here. In November 1539, the King's Commissioner brought the order for closure of the Worksop Priory to the Gatehouse. More than two thousand acres of land and properties were taken by the crown and several buildings ordered to be pulled down. A significant portion of these lands, including Worksop Priory and the site of Rufford, went to the Earl of Shrewsbury on condition that persons inheriting the title Lord of the Manor of Worksop would provide a fine glove for each King or Queen at their Coronation. This tradition continued into the 1950s. The people of Worksop were permitted to keep the nave of the original building and use it as the parish church, whereupon the gatehouse became the vicarage.
How the marriage of 6th Earl of Shrewsbury to Bess of Hardwick in 1567 would result in the formation of The Dukeries is explained on THIS POST.
George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, was entrusted with the custody of Mary Queen of Scots. She was moved around between various locations (though apparently not allowed to walk even escorted in Sherwood Forest), and in 1583 she was brought to Worksop Manor. There would be several plots to put Mary on the throne. For example, Thomas Howard 4th Earl of Norfolk even proposed to her, the result being a trial Shrewsbury presided over and subsequent to which Howard was hung drawn and quartered. Although the relationship between Mary and her custodians had been mostly amicable, the demands on Shrewsbury’s finances began to take a toll. An unpopular marriage between Bess’s daughter and the Earl of Lennox at Rufford, which potentially changed the succession to the throne, caused further upset with both Queen Elizabeth 1st and Mary herself.
Whilst Bess’s independent wealth meant she could move freely between her other properties at Chatsworth and Hardwick, continuing to expand her estates, George’s supervision of Mary meant he could not. So, as Bess closed her doors to him, George, as if in defiance of his financial state, built a grand new house at Worksop. Designed by Robert Smythson, constructed 1580 – 85, this is where Mary Queen of Scots was visited by the Earl of Rutland, the catholic brother of Shrewsbury’s first wife, resulting in Shrewsbury being relieved of his custodial duties. Three years later, as conspiracies to free Mary continued, a tearful Shrewsbury was required to preside over her execution from a nearby seat on the scaffold.
At the end of the 17th century Worksop manor moved by marriage to the Duke of Norfolk. During the 18th Century both the 8th and 9th Dukes made grand extensions to the 16th century manor house. The only rooms left undisturbed were Mary Queen of Scots one time chambers. However, in 1761 everything burned down. Almost immediately the 9th Duke commissioned James Paine to design a new building, with input from the Duchess. Only the north wing was ever completed. Work was stopped in 1767 when the Duke and Duchess never seemed to recover from the death of a nephew.
You can read more about the first Thoresby Hall, the Dukeries, on THIS LINK, and more about Bess of Hardwick's role in the formation of the Dukeries on THIS LINK. Also Welbeck, the Dukeries, on THIS LINK and Clumber Park, the Dukeries, on THIS LINK.