Guide to Doncaster history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.
With the UK Government redefining of counties and jurisdictions in 1972, Doncaster, while historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, is now considered a location in South Yorkshire. As this will not be of any help for Family History researchers, it is identified above as part of the historic county of Yorkshire.
Doncaster is a large market town and is part of a greater metropolitan area with a population of about 300,000.
Possibly inhabited by earlier people, Doncaster grew up at the site of a Roman fort constructed in the 1st century at a crossing of the River Don. The 2nd century Antonine Itinerary and the early 5th century Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries) called this fort Danum. The first section of the road to the Doncaster fort had probably been constructed in the early 50s, while a route through the north Derbyshire hills was opened in the latter half of the 1st century. The main route between Lincoln and York was Ermine Street, which required parties to break into smaller units to cross the Humber in boats. As this was not always practical, the Romans considered Doncaster to be an important staging post. Several areas of known intense archaeological interest have been identified in the town, although many, in particular St Sepulchre Gate, remain hidden under buildings. The Roman fort is believed to have been located on the site that is now covered by St George's Minster, next to the River Don.
Doncaster is generally believed to be the Cair Daun listed as one of the 28 cities of Britain in the 9th century History of the Britons traditionally attributed to Nennius. It was certainly an Anglo-Saxon burh, during which period it received its present name: "Don-" (Old English: Donne) from the Roman settlement and river and "-caster" (-ceaster) from an Old English adaptation of the Latin castra ("military camp; fort").
By the time of the Domesday Book, Hexthorpe in the wapentake of Strafforth was described as having a church and two mills. The historian David Hey says that these facilities represent the initial settlement at Doncaster.
As the 13th century approached, Doncaster matured into a busy town; in 1194 King Richard I granted it national recognition with a town charter. In 1248, a charter was granted for Doncaster's market to be held around the Church of St Mary Magdalene, built in Norman times. In the 16th century, the church was adapted for use as the town hall. It was finally demolished in 1846. Some 750 years on, the market continues to operate, with its busy traders located both under cover, at the 19th-century 'Corn Exchange' building, and in outside stalls.
By 1334, Doncaster was the wealthiest town in southern Yorkshire and the sixth most important town in Yorkshire as a whole, even boasting its own banker. By 1379, it was recovering from the Black Death, which had reduced its population to 1,500. In October 1536, the Pilgrimage of Grace ended in Doncaster. This was a rebellion led by the lawyer Robert Aske, who commanded 40,000 people of Yorkshire against Henry VIII in protest about the monarch's Dissolution of the Monasteries.
The Medieval township of Doncaster is known to have been protected by earthen ramparts and ditches, with four substantial gates as entrances to the town. These gates were located at Hall Gate, St Mary's Bridge (old), St Sepulchre Gate and Sunny Bar Today the gates at Sunny Bar are commemorated by huge 'Boar Gates'; similarly, the entrance to St Sepulchre Gate is commemorated with white marble 'Roman Gates'. The boundary of the town principally extended from the River Don, along a route formed by what is now Market Road, Silver Street, Cleveland Street and Printing Office Street.
Because access into town was restricted, some officeholders secured charters to collect tolls. In 1605, King James I granted to William Levett of Doncaster, brother of York merchant Percival Levett, the right to levy tolls at Friar's and St Mary's bridges. Having served as mayors and aldermen of Doncaster, the Levetts probably believed they could control a monopoly. In 1618 the family began enforcing it but, by 1628, the populace revolted.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the town of Doncaster continued to expand, although it suffered several outbreaks of plague between 1562 and 1606. Each time the plague struck down significant numbers of the town's population.
Doncaster has traditionally been a prosperous area within the wapentake of Stafford and Tickhill. The borough was known for its rich landowners with vast estates and huge stately homes such as Brodsworth Hall, Cantley Hall, Cusworth Hall, Hickleton Hall, Nether Hall and Wheatley Hall (demolished 1934). This wealth is evidenced in the luxurious and historic gilded 18th-century Mansion House on High Street. This land ownership developed over what is an ancient market place and large buildings were erected in the 19th century, including the Market Hall and the Corn Exchange. Perhaps the most striking building is St George's Minster, constructed in the 19th century and promoted from a parish church in 2004.
Hyde Park Cemetery:
- Carr House Rd
- Doncaster DN4 5AA
- Phone: +44 7777 688438
- Doncaster DN4 9NA
- Guest La<vr>
- Doncaster DN4 9NX
- Phone: +44 1302 535191
Rose Hill Crematorium:
- Ascot Ave
- Cantley, Doncaster DN4 6HE
- Phone: +44 1302 736900
The following web sites can provide additional information on Doncaster Cemeteries:
St George's Minster
- 9 Church St
- Doncaster DN1 1RD
- Phone: +44 1302 323748
- 200 Cantley Ln
- Doncaster DN4 6PA
- Phone: +44 1302 535133
St Wilfrid's, Scrooby
- 6AR, Church Ln
- Scrooby, Doncaster DN10
- Phone: +44 1909 591857
St WIlfrid's, Hickleton
- Barnsley Rd
- Doncaster DN5 7BA
- Kirk Sandall
- Doncaster DN3 1DW
- 23 St Mary's Gate
- Tickhill, Doncaster DN11 9LY
St Mary's, Wheatley
- St Mary's Rd
- Doncaster DN1 2NT
Holy Trinity and St Oswald's
- Rectory Ln
- Finningley, Doncaster DN9 3DA
- Phone: +44 1302 770240
- 3 Vicarage Cl
- Hatfield, Doncaster DN7 6HN
- Phone: +44 1302 350591
St Mary Magdalene
- 19 Campsall Hall Rd
- Campsall, Doncaster DN6 9LH
- Phone: +44 1302 723224
- 18 Central Blvd
- Doncaster DN2 5PE
- Phone: +44 1302 342047
For other parishes in local outlying areas, consider accessing the following 3 Yorkshire Parish websites:
Other Christian and non Christian religious groups follow:
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
- Christian Fellowship
- Congregational Church
- Jehovah's Witness
- Reach out Christian Fellowship
- RCCJ Maranatha
- Roman Catholic
Non Christian populations include:
Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the UK government, from July 1837 to the present day.
Maps and Gazetteers
Doncaster emerged as an industrial center in the late 18th century to the late 20th century. Its communication links, particularly its waterways, meant that Doncaster became extremely busy and experienced vast migration to its centrer. Underneath Doncaster lies a huge natural resource by way of deep seam coal. However most of this industrial base and its communication links have become largely redundant as manufacturing moved to Asia. 
Doncaster City Council has established a series of initiatives to take advantage of the pool of trained citizens. This includes areas such as benefiting from a competitive manufacturing and engineering sector, a growing logistics sector and a highly rated retail and tourism area. It has also initiated the growth of horse racing as an attraction to the area.
The town is served by the UK’s newest international airport, is at the heart of the UK’s motorway network and the East Coast Mainline runs through the town’s high quality urban centre, with London only 88 minutes away. Doncaster is the largest borough in England by geographic area (220sq miles), which also sees it benefit from a significant natural environment.
This includes a major project which will help integrate road, rail, water (the Humber ports) and air to provide a major UK multi-modal logistics offer known as the ‘Port of Doncaster’ and act as a catalyst for business development, inward investment and job creation particularly in the logistics, engineering and associated aviation sectors.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Doncaster," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doncaster, accessed 11 March, 2018.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Doncaster," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doncaster, accessed 14 March, 2018.
- Key Cities Potential, https://www.keycities.co.uk/Doncaster, accessed 14 March, 2018.