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Doncaster
Doncaster St Sepulchre Gate and Printing Office Street.JPG
St Sepulchre Gate and Printing Office Street junction in Doncaster town centre
Doncaster shown within South Yorkshire
Population 109,805 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SE5702
Metropolitan borough
  • Doncaster
Metropolitan county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town DONCASTER
Postcode district DN1-DN12
Dialling code 01302
Police South Yorkshire
Fire South Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament
  • __Constituency Map
  • Doncaster Central
  • Doncaster North
  • Don Valley
Website Doncaster Council
List of places
UK
England
YorkshireCoordinates: 53°30′54″N 1°07′59″W / 53.515°N 1.133°W / 53.515; -1.133

Doncaster (/ˈdɒŋkəstər/ or /ˈdɒŋkæstər/), is a large market town in South Yorkshire, England. Together with its surrounding suburbs and settlements, the town forms part of the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster, which had a mid-2015 est. population of . The town itself has a population of 109,805. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Doncaster is about 20 miles (30 km) from Sheffield, with which it is served jointly by an international airport, Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield in Finningley. The Doncaster Urban Area had a population of 158,141 in 2011 and includes Doncaster and the neighbouring small village of Bentley as well as some other villages.

History

Alternative Ermine Street
Ermine Street's alternative route: Eboracum (York) to Lagecium (Castleford), 21 miles, to Danum (Doncaster), 16 miles, to Agelocum (Littleborough), 21 miles, to Lindum (Lincoln), 13 miles. A separate spur connected Danum with Calcaria (near Tadcaster).

Roman

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 since the early 50s, while a route through the north Derbyshire hills was opened in the latter half of the 1st century, possibly by Governor Gn. Julius Agricola during the late 70s. Doncaster provided an alternative direct land route between Lincoln and York. 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. The Roman road through Doncaster appears on two routes recorded in the Antonine Itinerary. The itinerary include the same section of road between Lincoln and York, and list three stations along the route between these two coloniae. Routes 7 and 8 (Iter VII & VIII) are entitled "the route from York to London".

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. The Doncaster garrison units are named in the Register produced near the end of Roman rule in Britain: it was the home of the Crispinian Horse, presumably named because it was originally recruited from among the tribes living near Crispiana in Pannonia Superior (near present-day Zirc in western Hungary), but possibly owing to Crispus, son of Constantine the Great, being headquartered there while his father was based in nearby York. The Register names the unit as under the command of the "Duke of the Britons".

MedievalDoncaster
Map showing the boundary of the fortified Medieval township of Doncaster with four Gates

Medieval

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"). The settlement was mentioned in the 1003 will of Wulfric Spott. Shortly after the Norman Conquest, Nigel Fossard refortified the town and constructed Conisbrough Castle. 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 settlement at Doncaster. He also suggests that the street name Frenchgate indicates that Fossard invited fellow Normans to trade in the town.

Conisbrough Castle Doncaster winter time
12th century Conisbrough Castle, open to the public and property of English Heritage

As the 13th century approached, Doncaster matured into a busy town; in 1194 King Richard I granted it national recognition with a town charter. Doncaster had a disastrous fire in 1204, from which it slowly recovered. At the time, buildings were built of wood, and open fireplaces were used for cooking and heating. Fire was a constant hazard.

St Mary Magdalene Doncaster
Norman church of St Mary Magdalene, at demolition in 1846

In 1248 a charter was granted for Doncaster 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 (1873) and in outside stalls. The Corn Exchange was extensively rebuilt in 1994 after a major fire.

During the 14th century, numerous friars arrived in Doncaster who were known for their religious enthusiasm and preaching. In 1307 the Franciscan friars (Greyfriars) arrived, and Carmelites (Whitefriars) arrived in the middle of the 14th century. In the Medieval period, other major features of the town included the Hospital of St Nicholas and the leper colony of the Hospital of St James, a moot hall, grammar school, and the five-arched stone town bridge, with a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Bridge. 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 so-called 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. Many of Doncaster's streets are named with the suffix 'gate'. The word 'gate' is derived from the old Danish word 'gata,' which meant street. During Medieval times, craftsmen or tradesmen with similar skills, tended to live in the same street. Baxter is an ancient word for baker; Baxtergate was the bakers' street. Historians believe that 'Frenchgate' may be named after French-speaking Normans who settled on this street.

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 what is now Market Road and Silver, Cleveland and Printing Office streets.

St Georges Doncaster 3
St George's Minster

Modern

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. Capt. Christopher Levett, Percival's son, petitioned Parliament to enforce the tolls. But Parliament disagreed, calling the tolls "a grievance to the subjects, both in creation and execution," and axed the Levett monopoly. (Doncaster's Levet Road is named for this family, as are the nearby hamlets of Hooton Levitt and the largely extinct Levitt Hagg, where much of the town's early limestone was quarried.)

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.

During the campaign of the First English Civil War, King Charles I marched by Bridgnorth, Lichfield and Ashbourne to Doncaster, where on 18 August 1645 he was met by great numbers of Yorkshire gentlemen who had rallied to his cause. On 2 May 1664, Doncaster was rewarded with the title of 'Free Borough' by way of the King (Charles I's son, King Charles II) expressing his gratitude for Doncaster's allegiance.

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.

Doncaster was already a communications centre at this time. Doncaster sat on the Great North Road or A1, due to its strategic geographical importance and essentially Roman inheritance. This was the primary route for all traffic from London to Edinburgh and Doncaster benefited from its location.

Geography

Doncaster is a large settlement and borough in South Yorkshire. The borough expanded dramatically in population with the development of coal mining. Closure of coal mines in the 1970s, and the early 1980s caused some economic difficulties; the town then developed its service industry; the already good communication links with the rest of the UK supported this development.

The Doncaster skyline is dominated by the minster in the middle of the town. The Frenchgate Shopping Centre holds an important position in the skyline, along with the Doncaster College Hub building and Cusworth Hall. Cusworth Hall is an 18th-century Grade I listed country house in Cusworth, near Doncaster. Set in the landscaped parklands of Cusworth Park, Cusworth Hall is a good example of a Georgian country house.

Most of the old Doncaster College, the Council House and surrounding buildings have been demolished, and work has commenced to replace them with more modern facilities including a new theatre, council house and hotel which together will form the Doncaster Civic and Cultural Quarter. There are also plans for expansion onto land north of the new college (The Hub) if it gains university status.

Potteric Carr, including Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, lies to the south.

Climate

Doncaster has a maritime climate, lacking in extreme temperatures, as with the rest of the British Isles. The town lies at a low elevation in the Don valley, in the lee of the Pennines, and inland from the North sea, meaning daytime summer temperatures are no lower than parts of South East England, despite the more northerly location. The nearest weather station is RAF Finningley, now known as Robin Hood Airport, located about 5.5 miles (8.9 km) to the south-east of Doncaster town centre, and at a similar elevation.

The Doncaster area is about as far north as the 21.5c (71f) average July/August maximum temperature isotherm reaches – Indeed, the August 1990 record high of 35.5c (95.9f) is the most northerly temperature above 35.0c (95.0f) in the British Isles. The nearby town of Bawtry just slightly further south still holds the UK's September monthly record high temperature of 35.6c (96.1f), set in 1906. Typically, the warmest day of the year should reach 29.1c (84.4f) and 12.58 days will report a daytime maximum of 25.1c (77.2f) or above.

The absolute minimum temperature stands at −13.5c, set during December 1981. However, online records only relate to the period 1960–2000, so lower temperatures may have been recorded at nearby locations outside of this timeframe. According to the 1971–2000 period, 51.9 nights of the year will record an air frost on average.

Typically 106.9 days, of the year will report 1mm or more of rainfall. Total annual precipitation is slightly below 560 mm (22 in), comparable to the driest parts of the United Kingdom, due to Doncaster's location in the rain shadow of the Pennines.

Climate data for Finningley, elevation 17m, 1981–2010, extremes 1960–2000
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.5
(58.1)
17.9
(64.2)
23.6
(74.5)
22.7
(72.9)
28.4
(83.1)
32.1
(89.8)
32.2
(90)
35.5
(95.9)
27.3
(81.1)
27.7
(81.9)
18.5
(65.3)
15.5
(59.9)
35.5
(95.9)
Average high °C (°F) 7.3
(45.1)
7.8
(46)
10.5
(50.9)
13.0
(55.4)
16.4
(61.5)
19.5
(67.1)
21.9
(71.4)
21.7
(71.1)
18.7
(65.7)
14.3
(57.7)
10.1
(50.2)
7.4
(45.3)
14.1
(57.4)
Average low °C (°F) 1.0
(33.8)
1.0
(33.8)
2.6
(36.7)
4.1
(39.4)
6.7
(44.1)
9.9
(49.8)
11.9
(53.4)
11.5
(52.7)
9.6
(49.3)
6.8
(44.2)
3.6
(38.5)
1.3
(34.3)
5.9
(42.6)
Record low °C (°F) −13.3
(8.1)
−10.3
(13.5)
−9.3
(15.3)
−5.4
(22.3)
−3.5
(25.7)
-0.6
(30.9)
3.2
(37.8)
3.7
(38.7)
−1.1
(30)
−3.6
(25.5)
−7.5
(18.5)
−13.5
(7.7)
−13.5
(7.7)
Precipitation mm (inches) 44.4
(1.748)
32.2
(1.268)
37.3
(1.469)
47.2
(1.858)
43.4
(1.709)
63.0
(2.48)
49.5
(1.949)
52.4
(2.063)
52.0
(2.047)
53.8
(2.118)
50.5
(1.988)
48.8
(1.921)
574.5
(22.618)
Sunshine hours 59.1 77.4 108.7 148.0 189.5 174.6 190.6 178.2 135.2 101.5 64.4 50.5 1,477.5
Source #1: KNMI
Source #2: Met Office

Transport

European

Doncaster sits on the European Route E15 and is the starting point of European Route E13. The E13 connects Doncaster, Sheffield, Nottingham to London. In the United Kingdom, European route designators are not displayed on road signs. The M18 Junction 2 at Doncaster was the original intended starting point of the M1 motorway where the motorway meets the A1(M). The intended motorway design is evidenced in road maps. The M1 was extended northward to Leeds, which is why the E13 starts at Doncaster and follows the path of the M18 and the M1.

National

Doncaster is situated on the A1(M) and M18 motorways, and is within 20 minutes of the key M1 and M62 motorways. The 15-mile (24 km) A1(M) motorway bypass cost £6 million and was opened by Ernest Marples in 1961. The former route is now the A638, and partly the A614 to Blyth. Doncaster is also an important railway town with a station on the East Coast Main Line.

Regional

Doncaster is a European hub with a new international airport, Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield opened in 2005. Doncaster International Railport facilities link to the Channel Tunnel.

Metropolitan borough

New developments include campus facilities for Doncaster College and the Frenchgate Interchange (a unification of bus and railway stations with the Frenchgate Centre). The extension to the shopping centre and the new bus station opened on 8 June 2006, when all Doncaster bus routes started to use the station.

Demography

In 2011, Doncaster had a population of 109,805 which makes it very slightly larger than Rotherham.

Doncaster compared 2011 Doncaster Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster
White British 84.9% 91.8%
Asian 5.3% 2.5%
Black 1.3% 0.8%

In 2011, 15.1% of Doncaster's population were non white British, compared with 8.2% for the surrounding Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster. This makes Doncaster more ethnically diverse than both Rotherham and Middlesbrough. Doncaster town has twice the percentage of Asian people compared with the borough, and a slightly larger percentage of black people.

Culture and tourism

Mansion House and New Betting Room, Doncaster, Nathaniel Whittock & John Rogers, published by I.T. Hinton, London, 1829
The Mansion House and New Betting Room, Doncaster, engraved by John Rogers after a drawing by Nathaniel Whittock, published by Isaac Taylor Hinton, London, 1829. The architect was James Paine, 1746–1748.

Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery is the town's main museum. It opened in 1964, and explores natural history, archaeology, local history, and fine and decorative art. It has a major exhibit dedicated to silverware and trophies won at Doncaster Racecourse. The museum houses the Regimental Museum of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

The aircraft museum Aeroventure is based on the site of the former site of RAF Doncaster at Doncaster Lakeside. The Trolleybus Museum in the nearby village of Sandtoft specialises in the preservation of trolleybuses, and claims to have the largest collection of preserved trolleybuses in Europe, with over 60 examples. Markham Grange Steam Museum, in a garden centre in the nearby village of Brodsworth, features a private collection of steam engines.

Cusworth Hall is an 18th-century Grade I listed country house in Cusworth. It is open to the public and features displays documenting the history of South Yorkshire. Doncaster Mansion House features an art gallery and displays on local history.

Ashworth Barracks Museum is a military museum in Balby telling the story of the men awarded the Victoria Cross. It also houses a First World War exhibit including a 'Weekers Helmet' one of only two known to exist in the UK.

Theatre and cinemas

  • Cast is the new £22 million venue opened officially on Monday 2 September 2013. Cast includes a 620-seat auditorium, a flexible studio space, drama studio, dance studio, education and ancillary space, and a large foyer with a café. Its director was Kully Thiarai, formerly of the Contact Theatre, Manchester.
  • The Doncaster Little Theatre is a 99-seat community theatre which puts on their own in-house shows including a pantomime, along with 2 films a month during the day. Hire companies also use the theatre space for their own shows.
  • The town has a 7 screen multiplex Vue which is currently undergoing work to be expanded.
  • Events and concerts take place at Doncaster Racecourse and The Dome Leisure Centre.

Nightlife

The Silver Street, Cleveland Street and High Street areas have over 40 bars and clubs within a 2–3 minute walk of each other and other bars can be found on Priory Walk, Lazarus Court, Bradford Row and around the Market Place. Various restaurants serving food from around the world can also be found in the town centre, especially in the Netherhall and Copley Road areas.

Twin towns

Doncaster is twinned with:

  • France Avion, France
  • Germany Herten, Germany

Images for kids


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