History and Heritage

Doncaster is one of the very oldest towns in England and possibly the oldest in Yorkshire. The Romans first settled here in around the late AD40s and in AD71 founded a fort at Danum, present day Doncaster. The main Roman road northwards came through the town and this has played an important role in the development of Doncaster through the centuries.

The Roman road became the Great North Road, eventually the A1, and the main route from London to York and Edinburgh. In the days of the stagecoach many inns flourished and naturally required stabling for horses. Many of these coaching inns survive such as the Salutation Inn or the Crown in Bawtry. Perhaps not surprisingly horseracing developed as early as the 16th century and the oldest regulated horse race in the world, the Doncaster Gold Cup, was first run in 1766. Just ten years later the St Leger Stakes was run at Doncaster Racecourse for the first time and it remains the oldest Classic race in the world.

The Normans built fine castles and two survive in Doncaster; at Conisbrough and Tickhill. Many fine buildings were built in the Georgian and Regency era, including the Mansion House, which was opened in 1749 and is one of only three Mansion Houses in England.

With Doncaster already established on the main north-south route the town was a natural choice for the main railway route to the north. In 1852 the Great Northern Railway opened their Locomotive and Carriage Buildings Works, where Flying Scotsman and Mallard would be designed and built many years later.

One of the founding Pilgrim Fathers, William Bradford, was born within the Borough and the very first governor of the Plymouth Colony, John Carver, is believed to have been born in Doncaster. With nearly 2,000 years of history it's not surprising that there is so much to discover about Doncaster's heritage!