Worksop was founded in Anglo-Saxon times, and existed for a long time as a market town. The building of the Chesterfield Canal in 1777, and the subsequent construction of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway in 1849, both of which passed through the settlement, led to a degree of growth. Discovery of sizable coal seams further increased interest in the area.
Worksop is known as the "Gateway to the Dukeries", so called for the number of ducal residences in the area.
The town was the setting for the children's television show, Maid Marian and her Merry Men, where it was depicted largely as a mass of mud.