DONCASTER: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868.


"DONCASTER, a market town and municipal borough in the parish of its name, in the lower division of the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill, in the West Riding of the county of York, 37 miles S.W. of York, and 162 N.N.W. of London by road, or 156¼ by the Great Northern railway, on which it is a chief station. The Midland, South Yorkshire, and Lancashire, and Yorkshire railways also have stations in the town, which is situated on the S. bank of the river Don, here crossed by two handsome stone bridges. This river rises near Peniston, and after flowing by Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster, and Thorne, joins the Ouse at Goole near its confluence with the umber. The parish of Doncaster includes, besides the borough of Doncaster, the townships of Balby-with-Hexthorpe, Langthwaite-with-Tilts, and Long Sandal-with-Wheatley. By the Romans this town was called Danum, end afterwards successively changed into Caer Daun, Donacercen, and Donacastre or Doncastle. It was burnt by lightning in 769, and was one of the manors given by the Conqueror to Robert de Mortaigne. The borough was first incorporated by Richard I. Under the new Act it is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors, elected by the three wards: east, west, and north-into which the borough is divided. There is no borough rate, the expenses of watching, lighting, drainage, paving, and county rates, being defrayed out of the corporate fund, which is under the control of the town council, who also act as a local board of health. The town may be described generally as well laid out. The streets are for the most part straight, broad, well paved, and lighted with gas. During the past ten years the character and appearance of the town have. been completely changed by the vast improvements and great increase of building, owing chiefly to the opening of the several lines of railway, which have brought it into connection with the rich coal and iron fields of South Yorkshire, and the ports of Great Grimsby and Liverpool. The Great Northern railway has also an extensive plant, employing near 1,500 skilled mechanics, who inhabit a separate suburb of the town, numbering, with their families, near 4,000 persons. The town has increased from 2,683 houses in 1851, inhabited by 12,052 persons, to 3,594 houses in 1861, inhabited by 16,406 persons. The principal public buildings are-the mansion house, situated in the centre of the town, the residence of the chief magistrate; the townhall; the covered corn and wool market; the market hall, erected on the site of the ancient townhall, a spacious building with a roof of iron it is used by the butchers, poulterers, &c.; the union workhouse, in Hexthorpe-lane, embracing 54 townships; the Grammar, the Christ Church, National, the British, Great Northern; Plant, and ragged schools; the Deaf and Dumb Institution; St. James's Hospital and St. Thomas's Hospital, and the borough gaol. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of York, value with the curacy of St. James annexed, £315, in the patronage of the Archbishop of York. The new church is a magnificent building by G. G. Scott. It is built after the manner of the ancient church of St. George, which was destroyed by fire in 1853, and accommodates about 1,400 people. The church of St. James, erected in 1858, chiefly through the exertions of Edmund Denison, Esq., late M.P. for the West Riding, is an admirable piece of architecture, with a spire 120 feet high. The general design was given by E. B. Denison, Esq. (Q.C.), who, at his own expense, has recently rebuilt the spire. There are also the following district churches: Christ Church, a perpetual curacy,* value £300, in the patronage of G. J. Jarratt, Esq.; Balby-with-Hexthorpe, a perpetual curacy, value £150, in the patronage of the Rev. R. J. Banks; and Loversall, a perpetual curacy, value £51, in the patronage of the Vicar of Doncaster. There is a large and elegant chapel for the Wesleyans in Priory-place; one for the Independents in Hall-gate, which has been recently renovated; and also places of worship for the Unitarians, Roman Catholics, Primitive Methodists, Quakers, and Baptists. The 3rd West York militia have their depôt at Doncaster, Here are various charities and almshouses, houses, viz. Jarratt's Charity, founded by John Jarratt, Esq., of Doncaster; Quintin Kay's Charity, of £300 per annum; those of Martin, Copley, Elston, Saunders, &c. The Stocks's almshouses are on the road from Doncaster to Wheatley. The gift of the charity is in the hands of the mayor and vicar for the time being. The cemetery was opened in 1856; two-thirds are set apart for the interment of members of the Church, and one-third for Dissenters. The chief attraction of Doncaster are its September races. The St. Leger is run for on a *ednesday, and brings thousands of visitors from all parts of the country. The course is circular and nearly flat, about 1 mile, 7 furlongs, and 70 yards long. The chief manufactures of the town are flax and hemp, canvas and sacking. There are several iron and brass foundries, and also breweries and malting establishments. Among the seats of the nobility and gentry may be mentioned Sandbeck Park, the seat of the Earl of Scarborough; Sprotbrough', of Sir J. Copley; Wheatley Hall, of Sir W. Cooke; Hickleton, of Sir C. Wood; Cantley, of Mr. Childers; Campsmount, of Mr. Yarborough; Owston, of Mr. Cooke, &c. Coins, urns, and other Roman remains have been dug up in various parts of the town and neighbourhood. Market day is Saturday, and a cattle market every alternate Tuesday. There are four annual fairs."

"BALBY, (or Hexthorpe), a township in the soke and parish of Doncaster, in the West Riding of the county of York, 2 miles to the S. of Doncaster, its post town. It is situated in a level country on the south side of the river Don, near the Great Northern and South Yorkshire railways. The living is a perpetual curacy united with that of Hexthorpe, in the diocese of York, value £150, in the patronage of the Rev. R. J. Banks. In this village were held the earliest meetings of the Society of Friends, under George Fox and his associates."

"LANGTHWAITE WITH TILTS, a township in the parish of Doncaster, N. division of the wapentake of Strafforth, West Riding county York, 4 miles N. of Doncaster. There is no village, only a few farmhouses."

"LONG SANDAL, a township in the soke and parish of Doncaster, West Riding county York, 3 miles N.E. of Doncaster, its post town. The village, which is of small extent, is situated on the bank of the river Don, and near the Doncaster and Thorne turnpike road. The township includes the hamlet of Wheatley. The South Yorkshire railway and the Keadby extension pass near the village. The corporation of Doncaster, to whom the manor belongs, have expended considerable sums on the enclosure and improvement of the lands. The principal residence is Wheatley Hall."

"LONGTHWAITE, a township in the parish of Doncaster, N. division of the wapentake of Strafforth, West Riding county York."

"LOVERSALL, in the soke and parish of Doncaster, West Riding county York, 3 miles S. of Doncaster, its post town, and 3½ N. of Tickhill. The main road between Balby and Worksop passes through the village. This place was formerly much frequented by visitors, the spring known as St. Catherine's Well being remarkable for the purity of its waters, and the neighbourhood exceedingly healthy. Limestone is quarried. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of York, value £60, in the patronage of the Vicar of Doncaster. The church is an ancient structure with a tower and embattled parapet ornamented by eight pinnacles. There are three memorial windows of, stained glass, and several monuments and effigies of the Overton, Wirrall, and other families. Mrs. Catherine E. Cooke is lady of the manor. The principal residences are St. Catherine's and Loversall halls-the former a remarkably fine example of later English domestic architecture, embellished with porticoes, turrets, and pinnacles."

"TILTS, a hamlet in the parish of Doncaster, N. division of Strafforth wapentake, West Riding county York, 3 miles N. of Doncaster. It is joined with Langthwaite."

"WHEATLEY, a township in the soke and parish of Doncaster, West Riding county York, 2 miles N.E. of Doncaster. It is situated on the river Don, and includes the hamlet of Long Sandal."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2013