HATFIELD, a parish-town, in the upper-division of Strafforth and Tickhill (the seat of W. Gossip, Esq.) 3 miles SSW. of Thorne, 8 from Doncaster, 11 from Bawtry, 34 from York. Pop. 1,948. The Church is a perpetual curacy, dedicated to St. Lawrence, in the deanry of Doncaster, value, p.r. £80. 4s. 3d. Patron, Lord Deerhurst, in right of his Wife. Bacon styles it a vicarage, value, £15. 5s.
On Hatfield Heath, a bloody battle was fought between Ceadwalla, King of the Britons, and Penda, the Pagan King of Mercia, against Edwin, the first Christian King of Northumberland, in which Edwin, and Offrid his eldest son, were slain. --Rapin. --Drake.
In the old Manor House here, was born, William, the second son of King Edward III. from which place he took the name of William de Hatfield. The Queen, Phillippa, his mother, on this occasion, gave five marks per annum to the neighbouring Abbey of Roche, and five nobles to the Monks there, which sums, when he died, were transferred to the church of York, where the Prince was buried, to pray for his soul. --Drake.
The extensive level of Hatfield Chace, the largest in England, contains within its limits, above 180,000 acres, one half of which was covered with water, till Charles I. sold it to Sir Cornelius Vermuiden, a Dutchman, without the consent of the commissioners and tenants, to drain and cultivate; which to the general surprise, he at length effected, at the expense of about £400,000. But the affair involved him in tedious and ruinous law suits. --Miller's History of Doncaster.
In 1811, an Act was obtained for inclosing between eight and nine thousand acres of rich common in this neighbourhood, which must be ultimately productive of great public and private advantage.
In the centre of this chace, at a place called Lindholme, tradition relates, there formerly lived a Hermit, called William of Lindholme. Of his cell a particular account is given in the Gents. Mag. for 1747, written by George Stovin, Esq. of Crowle, and copied into the Hist. of Doncaster. Mr. Stovin's Letter is dated Aug. 31, 1727. It was situated to the middle of sixty acres of firm sandy ground, full of pebbles; at the east end stood an altar, made of hewn stone, and at the west end is the hermit's grave, covered with a freestone slab, under it were found a tooth, a scull, the thigh and shin hones of a human body, all of a very large size; likewise a peck of hemp seed, and a piece of beaten copper. A farmhouse now occupies the site of the cell.
The Church is a large handsome building, having a lofty elegant tower, and although originally Saxon, the present structure is not older than the reign of Henry III. In it are several monuments of the Hatfield family, and one of Abraham de la Pryme. --Miller's History of Doncaster.