DONCASTER: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1829.


"DONCASTER, a borough and market-town, in the parish of its name, in the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill, and in the liberty of the honour of Pontefract, is 158 miles from London, 51 from Manchester, 37 from York, 18 from Sheffield, and 15 from Pontefract. The town is pleasantly situated on the south bank of the river Don, from which it derives its name, and the great north road from London to Edinburgh passes through its whole length, the inhabitants deriving considerable advantage from the never-ceasing intercourse kept up on this road. The High or main street, fur length, width and beauty, is allowed to be the best on the road betwixt the two capitals; this noble street is about a mile in lengths from the Hall-cross on the south, to the Mill bridge on the north. The mansion-house, which is a superb building, is a great ornament to this handsome street; the foundation was laid in the year 1744: in. 1800 it was repaired and the edifice raised. The mayor, three justices and the town clerk attend in this building every Monday morning, to hear and determine upon all complaints brought by the inhabitants of the borough. The conceits and balls, during the races and at other times, are held in the mansion-house. The church, dedicated to St. George, stands on tile site of the old cantle, and is the only church in the town; it is a majestic edifice, but there is no certainty of the time of its erection; it is evident that one part of the church was built at a different period to the other, and that the east end was built in the reign of William the Conqueror, by the date 1071 being on an old stone taken out of the east end, about six years since, when the church was repaired. The tower, which is extremely elegant, and from its architecture shows it to have been built at a later period, probably during the reign of Henry III. when a great number of our present handsome churches were erected. The living is a vicarage, in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and incumbency of the Rev. John Sharpe. Another, to be called Christ church, is building, at the expense of the late John Jarratt, Esq. who munificently gave £13,000. for the erection and endowment of the same. The other places of worship are appropriated to the use of Presbyterians, independent, Wesleyan and primitive Methodists, and Quakers, who have each a chapel. The charitable institutions are a dispensary, established in the year 1792; a poorhouse, established about 1719 - a school of, industry, opened in 1799; Sunday schools, &c. St. Thomas's hospital, which was erected and endowed by Thomas Ellis, Esq. in the year 1588, with an estate, worth at that period only £10. per year, now brings 9256. per annum. The town hall is a neat and plain building, situated in the Market-place, and is surmounted by the figure of justice; the principal corporation business is transacted in this edifice, and where the records are also kept. The theatre is a neat building, with a portico in front, and stands near to the town hall. The first charter of incorporation was granted by Richard I.; the body consists of a mayor, recorder, town clerk, twelve aldermen, and twenty-four common councilmen; the three senior aldermen being empowered to act as justices of the peace. The sessions for the borough and soke of Doncaster are held quarterly at the town-hall; where are also held the sessions for the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill once a year, in January, and a court of requests for the recovery of debts under 40s. tile first Thursday in every month. It does not appear that this has ever been noted as a manufacturing town, or a place of peculiar trade, except retail. The corn trade is carried on here to some extent, and there is a carpet and sacking manufactory now at work. The inhabitants pay no assessment for lighting and paying the streets, as the corporation keep them in excellent order at their own expense. The town of Doncaster, for beauty and salubrity, the excellent roads, and delightful promenades, may perhaps vie with any town in the kingdom; the environs too are remarkably pleasant, and on the western side truly picturesque. Besides these local advantages, this town possesses another benefit, paramount in splendour and attraction in its kind, to any other in the island, this is the races, The race ground perhaps stands unrivalled; add the grand stand, built at the expense of the corporation, for its elegance and accommodation is not to be excelled. The corporation patronize these sports munificently; there is His Majesty's plate of 100 guineas; and the stewards give a gold cup of the like value. The St. Leger stakes in particular, excites a lively interest among the votaries of the turf in every part of the kingdom. The races are generally held the third week in September, and continue four days, affording considerable emolument to the town. The market day is on Saturday, and there are two fairs in the year, viz. 5th of April and 5th of August, for cattle; horses, sheep, and woollen cloth. The population of the borough of Doncaster, by the parliamentary census for 1821, contained 8,544 inhabitants, and including the soke of Doncaster, 9,527. Balby, a township, in the soke of Doncaster, one mile S.W. of that town, is remarkable as one of the places where the celebrated George Fox, the founder of the society of friends, with his followers, held their first meeting, and where they suffered persecutions as severe, as they, were unmerited. The number of inhabitants in tine township in 1821, amounted to about 400."

"LOVERSALL, a village, in the soke and parish of Doncaster, three miles from that town, contained, in 1821, 131 inhabitants."
Note: The directory entry for Loversall in Pigot's 1829 Directory is included with Tickhill.

[Transcribed from Pigot's National Commericial Directory for 1828-29 ]
by Colin Hinson ©2007