Castle Donington


Description in 1871:
"CASTLE-DONINGTON, a town, a parish, and a subdistrict in the district of Shardlow, and county of Leicester. The town stands near the river Trent, 3¼ miles W of Kegworth r. station, and 7½ NW by N of Loughborough. It was known at Domesday as Dunitone; it takes the first part of its present name from an old castle, now a fragment, said to have belonged to John of Gaunt; and it contains vestiges of a monastery, founded in the time of Henry II. It has a church, four dissenting chapels, a large handsome parochial school, a post office under Derby, and two chief inns. The church is very old; has a large chancel, with fine east window, and a handsome spire, 180 feet high; and contains a double canopied brass of 1458, and some old effigies. A weekly market is held on Saturday: and fairs on 18th March and 29 Sept. Several departments of manufacture are carried on. Pop., 2,291. Houses, 561. The parish comprises 4,250 acres. Real property, £12,856. Pop., 2,445. Houses, 617. The property is subdivided. The manor belonged formerly to the Plantagenets and the Huntingdons; and belongs now to the Marquis of Hastings. Donington Park, the seat of the Marquis, a mile west of the town, is a grand edifice, in a mixed style of pointed and Tudor, by Wilkins; has picturesque grounds of 350 acres; and contains an extensive library and a large collection of valuable paintings. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Peterborough. Value, £223. Patron, the Marquis of Hastings. The subdistrict contains six parishes and an extra-parochial tract. Acres, 13,355. Pop., 5,775. Houses, 1,385."
[John Marius Wilson's "Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales," 1870-72]


Archives & Libraries

The Castle Donington Library at 101 Bondgate is a branch of the Leicester County Council Library System. It is open 6 days each week (verify by phone if you are visiting). The Library has a dedicated Family History section.





  • A Burial Board was established in 1877, but the cemetery had not opened by 1881. In 1894 its duties were transferred to the Parish Council. A burial ground of 2.5 acres was obtained in 1881 to the north-east of the town.


  • The parish was in the Castle Donington subdistrict of the Shardlow registration district.
  • The 1851 census for Leicestershire has been indexed by the Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society. The whole index is available on microfiche. The society has also published it in print.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1861 R.G. 9 / 2487
1891 R.G. 12 / 2719

Church History

  • During the reign of Henry II, a monestery (and hospital) was founded here and dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist.
  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Edward King & Martyr. However Directories of the 1800s and early 1900s list the dedication as being to Saint Luke.
  • The church is very old but the construction date is uncertain. One reported date is about 1278.
  • The church was restored and reopened in 1877.
  • The church seats 600.
  • Geoff PICK has a photograph of St. Edward's Church on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2003.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of St. Edward's Church on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2009.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1539 and is in good condition.
  • The Salt Lake City Family History Library has the Bishop's Transcript on microfilm for 1563-1865.
  • The church was in the rural deanery of West Akeley.
  • The General Baptists' chapel was built here in 1774. Baptist records are available starting in 1785. The Baptist church is still functioning in Castle Donington, meeting in the Orchard Primary School.
  • The Weslayan Methodists, the Independents and the Society of Friends (Quakers) each had a chapel here by 1849.
  • The Society of Friends (Quakers) chapel is now a private residence.
  • A new Weslayan Methodist chapel was built in 1905 to replace the earlier chapel. The Methodists have had a strong presence in Donington 'til the present day. Wesleyan records exist from 1824 thru 1837. There is more at C. D. Methodist Church
  • Bill HENDERSON has a photograph of the Methodist Church on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2008.
  • The Roman Catholic Church of the Risen Lord in Castle Donington is relatively new. It began as a wooden hut purchased in 1935. In the 1980s the congregation decided to build a proper church and the new building was opened in November, 1992.
  • Alan MURRAY-RUST has a photograph of the Church of the Risen Lord on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2009.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the Castle Donington subdistrict of the Shardlow registration district.

Description & Travel

Castle Donington is a market-town and a parish which sits on the south side of the River Trent, which separates it from Derbyshire. The parish lies 9 miles south-east from Derby, 9.5 miles north-east of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 13 miles south-west of Nottingham and 123 miles north of London. The parish is just north-west of the East Midlands Airport. The parish covers about 3,425 acres these days.

If you are planning a visit:

  • Nearly two miles north of town is Cavendish Bridge, split by the River Trent with a part in both counties. It served as a wharfing place on the river for this town.
  • By automobile, take the M1 motorway to Kegworth where it crosses the A6 trunk road. Take the A6 west to the B6003 arterial and turn south to Castle Donnington.
  • A railway line runs past Castle Donington from Nottingham to Stoke-on-Trent. Passenger service ceased in 1930 and good service ceased in 1967.  The rail line still carries good to points beyond Castle Donington.
You can see pictures of Castle Donington which are provided by:




Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Castle Donington has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



  • The parish is mentioned twice in the 1086 Domesday Book.
  • In the mid-1800s, the remains of an old castle stood on a low hill. The castle is reported to have belonged to John of Gaunt.
  • In the 1800s many of the residents of this town were employed as basket makers, frame-work knitters, stocking makers and in lace embroidery. Others worked the malthouses, the paper mill, the corn mill, the plaster mill, in the tan yards or the brick fields.
  • Chris ALLEN has a photograph of the Donington Mill on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2013. A short history is included.
  • Ian CALDERWOOD has a photograph of a micro-brew pub in town on Geo-graph, taken in June, 2015. This pub had opened in April, 2014.
  • David LALLY has a photograph of the Lamb pub on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2013.


  • Donington Park was the seat of the Marquis of Hastings. The Hall is built of stone and was erected in 1795.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK446272 (Lat/Lon: 52.840473, -1.339319), Castle Donington which are provided by:


Military History

  • Erected in 1921, the War Memorial is Grade II listed with British Heritage. It was unveiled by Lady Donington in January, 1921.
  • One can also see the War Memorial online.
  • David THOMPSON has a photograph of the War Memorial in High Street on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2016.
  • There are ten Commonwealth War Graves in Castle Donington Cemetery.
  • Inside the parish church there are two framed Rolls of Honour including deceased and served.

Military Records

The Commonwealth War Graves are for (data from the CWGC site):

Name Rank Unit Died Other info.
Arthur Lawrence ASTOR gunner Royal Artillery 6 AApril 1948 No other information in database
W. ATKIN lance corporal 5th Btln., Leics. Regt. 1 Jan. 1915 This is possibly Wilfred ATKIN, son of Herbert and Emma.
John BARKER sergeant 9th Btln., Leics. Regt. 23 Oct. 1915 Age 28
Frank BRUCE leading stoker Royal Navy 26 Mar. 19418 Age 29, son of Frank and Elizabeth BRUCE
Edward CLAYTON private 3/4 Devonshire Regt. 256 April 1918 sAge 27, husband of Emily Mary CLAYTON
C. O. R. GOODCHILD lance corporal 1st. Btln. Sherwood Foresters 23 Jan. 1921 husband of Elizabeth Ann GOODCHILD
Charles William MASSEY sergeant RAF Volun. Resv. 11 Apr. 1944 Age 22, son of William and Ethel Grace MASSEY
Samuel MORRIS driver 3rd Reserve Brigade, Royal Field Artillery 31 May 1916 Age 38, son of Thomas and Ursula MORRIS
Charles Sidney POINTER lance bombadier 24th Field Regt., Royal Artillery 5 June 1940 Age 21, son of Ernest and Florence Emily POINTER of Ramsgate, Kent
Herbert George TAYLOR sergeant 10th field Regt., Royal Artillery 6 June 1940 Age 24, son of Herbert George and Emma Elizabeth TAYLOR

Names, Geographical

  • This place was listed in the 1086 Domesday Book as "Dunitone".
  • "Castle" is a later addition, but the precise date is uncertain.
  • The name is often found with a "double-N" as in Donnington, but the official name is "Castle Donington".


Basket-making was a well-established trade in Castle Donington. Many families had their own source of Osiers (Willows), but there were some suppliers in the area as well.



You may want to pick up (or read online) a copy of "Catle Donington Life magazine".


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish of Leicestershire and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish was in the ancient West Goscote Hundred in the western division of the county.
  • On 1 April, 1936, the parish was reduced by 414 acres to create Isley cum Langley Civil Parish to the south.
  • On 1 April, 1965, the parish border was altered by losing 1 acre to Melbourne parish and gaining a section of 15 acres from that same parish. Melbourne is in Derbyshire.
  • On that same date, the parish swapped a 1 acre parcel for another 1 acre acre parcel in Shardlow and Great Wilne parish in Derbyshire.
  • And finally, on that same date, the parish gained a 1 acre parcel from Weston upon Trent Civil Parish, Derbyshire.
  • You may contact the Parish Council regarding civic or political matters, but they are NOT staffed or funded to assist you with family research.
  • District governance is provided by the North West Leicestershire District Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • As a result of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, Castle Donningtonn became part of the Shardlow Poorlaw Union.
  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the petty session hearings held every Wednesday at the county building in Loughborough .


 Year Inhabitants
1801 1,959
1821 2,560
1841 3,508
1861 2,445
1871 2,512
1881 2,662
1891 2,591
1901 2,514
1911 2,529
1921 2,736
1931 2,674
1961 3,563


  • Thomas HESLIRIGE founded a grammar school here in 1509. The grammar school does not now exist.
  • A Parochial School was built here in 1855 to hold 200 children. It was enlarged in 1871 to hold 370 children.
  • This town had several boarding schools in the 1800s.
  • Cavendish Bridge had a small school built in 1859. This school was disused by 1911.
  • A Council School (mixed) was built here in 1910 to hold 320 children.
  • David THOMPSON haa a photograph of the Primary School on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2016.