WORSLEY, Sir Robert (by 1512-85), of Booths, Lancs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1512, 1st s. of Robert Worsley of Booths by Alice, da. and coh. of Hamlet Massey of Rixton. m. by 1533, Alice, da. of Thurstan Tyldesley of Tyldesley and Wardley Hall, nr. Worsley, 1s. Robert; 3s. illegit. suc. gdfa. 1533. Kntd. 11 May 1544.2

Offices Held

J.p. Lancs. from c. 1540; sheriff Dec. 1548-Nov. 1549, 1559-60; dep. lt.; commr. eccles. causes, diocese of Chester 1562.3


The manor of Booths, which Robert Worsley inherited from his grandfather, also Robert, in 1533, had been in the possession of his family since the 14th century. Although he acquired further property in Lancashire and Yorkshire, his own son Robert was later forced to sell many of his Lancashire estates, including Booths. He himself was assessed at 30s. for £30 in lands in the subsidy roll for Salford Hundred in 1541.4

Worsley joined the 3rd Earl of Derby with 63 men in 1536 and continued to perform military services. In April 1544, as captain of 100 men, he received £21 conduct money from Manchester to Newcastle and £16 16s.8d. coat money: on 11 May he was knighted by the Earl of Hertford at Leith. In 1556 he was appointed with Edward Tyldesley to command 200 archers and on 18 Dec. 1557 the Privy Council agreed to move the Queen to give him £20 in reward for the good service he had done in the north ‘and in consideration he had more soldiers than he was allowed for’. He was a commander in Salford Hundred in 1553, 1556 and 1569. He was by-elected to Edward VI’s second Parliament in place of Sir Richard Houghton who was, or was said to be, too ill to sit: two returns were made, of which the first, dated 6 Feb. 1553, bore both Worsley’s and Houghton’s names (both written over erasures) as well as Thomas Butler I’s as junior knight, and the second, dated 13 Mar., Worsley’s alone as replacing Houghton’s. Since the Parliament had opened on 1 Mar. and was to end on the 31st, Worsley’s attendance at it must have been brief.5

One of Worsley’s landed acquisitions was Upholland priory near Wigan, which he obtained from Sir John Holcroft in 1546-7; it may have been in exchange that Worsley conveyed his interest in Pennington to Holcroft. Worsley had been one of those who joined Sir Thomas Langton in an attempt to control the mayoral election in Wigan in 1539. Later, as sheriff of Lancashire, he engaged in several lawsuits with Miles Gerard, mayor of Wigan, and others, who claimed that the mayor should sit as a justice of the peace at sessions in Wigan. His son Robert and his fellow-Member in 1559, Sir John Atherton, were among his other opponents at law.6

The younger Robert was Worsley’s son by Alice Tyldesley, whom he had married by 1533, but by September 1547, when Thurstan Tyldesley made his will, Worsley had repudiated her in favour of Margaret Beetham. As so often with the Lancashire gentry, the status of this second union is uncertain.7

Worsley died in 1585 and was buried at Eccles in December: no will or inquisition post mortem has been found.8

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 2. Of age at grandfather’s death, VCH Lancs. iv. 383. Vis. Lancs. (Chetham Soc. lxxxi), 131; (lxxxviii), 340; (xcviii), 81; Chetham Soc. xxxiii. 100-1.
  • 3. J. B. Watson, ‘Lancs. gentry 1529-58’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1959), 538; VCH Lancs. ii. 98; CPR, 1560-3, pp. 280-1; Chetham Soc. l. 131n.
  • 4. VCH Lancs. iv. 382-3; VCH Yorks. (N. Riding), i. 506-8; Lancs. and Cheshire Rec. Soc. xii. 141.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xi, xix; HMC Kenyon, 587; APC, vi. 217; VCH Lancs. ii. 220; Watson, 527; C219/20/66, 67.
  • 6. LP Hen. VIII, xxi; VCH Lancs. iii. 428, 442; iv. 383n; Watson, 526; Chetham Soc. n.s. xv. 108; Ducatus Lanc. ii. 224, 231, 237; iii. 100.
  • 7. Chetham Soc. xxxiii. 100-1.
  • 8. VCH Lancs. iv. 383n.