William Worsley (priest)

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Dean William Worsley tomb slab at St Paul's Cathedral Dean-william-worsley-tomb-slab.jpg
Dean William Worsley tomb slab at St Paul's Cathedral

William Worsley (1435?−1499), was a dean of St. Paul's cathedral.

Dean of St Pauls

The Dean of St Paul's is a member of, and chairman of the Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral in London in the Church of England. The Dean of St Paul's is also Dean of the Order of the British Empire.

He is assumed to have been educated at Cambridge, as he is not mentioned in Wood; he is described as ‘sanctæ theologiæ’ ‘professor,’ but in his epitaph states ‘doctor of laws.’ On 29 April 1449 he was advanced to the prebend of Tachbrook in Lichfield Cathedral, on 30 March 1453 to Norwell Overall in Southwell, and in 1457 to South Cave in York Cathedral. These preferments were apparently conferred on him during his minority by his uncles, for it was not till 20 Sept. 1460 that he was ordained priest. On 19 May 1467 he was moved to the rectory of Eakring, Nottinghamshire. On 28 Sept. 1476 he became archdeacon of Nottingham, and on 22 Jan. 1478−9 he was elected dean of St. Paul's in succession to Thomas Winterbourne; he retained with it the archdeaconry of Nottingham and the prebend of Willesden in St. Paul's, and from 1493 to 1496 was also archdeaconry of Taunton.

Lichfield Cathedral Church in Staffordshire, England

Lichfield Cathedral is situated in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England. It is the only medieval English cathedral with three spires. The Diocese of Lichfield covers all of Staffordshire, much of Shropshire and part of the Black Country and West Midlands. The 99th and current Bishop of Lichfield is Michael Ipgrave who was appointed on 10 June 2016.

Eakring village in the United Kingdom

Eakring is a village and civil parish in the Newark and Sherwood district of Nottinghamshire, England. Its population at the 2011 Census was 419. There was sizeable oil production there in the mid-20th century.

Worsley held the deanery throughout the reigns of Edward V and Richard III, but in 1494 he became involved with the revolutionary movement by Perkin Warbeck. He was arrested in November, confessed before a commission of Oyer and terminer, and was found guilty of high treason on the 14th (Rot. Parl. vi. 489b). The lay conspirators were put to death, but Worsley was saved by his order, and on 6 June 1495 he was pardoned (Gairdner, Letters and Papers, ii. 375). [1] In October following parliament passed an act (11 Henry VII, c. 52) restoring him in blood (Statutes of the Realm, ii. 619). He had retained his ecclesiastical preferments, and died in possession of them on 14 Aug. 1499, being buried in St. Paul's Cathedral; his epitaph and a very pessimistic copy of Latin verses are printed by Weever (Funerall Monuments, p. 368; Gough, Sepulchral Mon. ii. 337). Fabyan describes Worsley as ‘a famous doctour and precher’ (Chronicle, p. 685). His will, dated 12 Feb. 1498−9, [2] was proved at Lambeth on 8 Nov. 1499, and at York on 27 March 1500, and is printed in ‘Testamenta Eboracensia,’ iv. 155−6; by it he left money for an obit in St. Paul's.

Edward V of England 15th-century King of England and one of the Princes in the Tower

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Richard III of England 15th-century King of England

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Perkin Warbeck Imposter-pretender to the throne of England

Perkin Warbeck was a pretender to the English throne. Warbeck claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, who was the second son of Edward IV and one of the so-called "Princes in the Tower". Richard, were he alive, would have been the rightful claimant to the throne, assuming that his elder brother Edward V was dead, and that he was legitimate – a contentious point.


Born probably about 1435, is believed to have been the son of Sir Robert Worsley of Booths in Eccles, Lancashire, and his wife Maude, daughter of Sir John Gerard of Bryn, Lancashire. His brother Robert married Margaret, niece of William Booth and Lawrence Booth, both of them Archbishops of York, to whose influence William owed most of his preferments.

William Booth or Bothe was Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield from 1447 before becoming Archbishop of York in 1452 until his death in 1464.

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  1. James Gairdner, Letters and papers illustrative of the reigns of Richard III and Henry VII Publisher Longman, 1863, page 375
  2. James Raine, John William Clay, Testamenta Eboracensia: Or, Wills Registered at York, Illustrative of the History, Manners, Language, Statistics, &c., of the Province of York, from the Year 1300 Downwards, Volume 53, Volume 4 of Publications of the Surtees Society, Publisher J. B. Nichols, 1869, page 155

Pollard, Albert (1900). "Worsley, William"  . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . 63. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

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Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Pollard, Albert (1900). "Worsley, William". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . 63. London: Smith, Elder & Co.