Can you help solve the mysteries of Doncaster's criminal past for history project?

Super sleuths are being hunted to help solve the mysteries of Doncaster's criminal past for a major local history project.

By Darren Burke
Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 10:44 am

Historians and translators are being sought to tackle some of the town's most historic documents which give a fascinating insight into daily life between 1265 and 1935.

The Conisbrough Court Rolls are an important record of Doncaster's past - and give glimpses of the town's history, the people who lived here - and also, the crimes they committed.

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Conisbrough Castle - the centre of the Conisbrough manor.

In its day, Conisbrough was one of the important royal manors of Yorkshire and records were kept showing details of crimes and their punishments.

The court documents provide a unique account of the working lives and relationships of its inhabitants and contain details of crimes such as people letting their animals trample crops, illegally brewing ale and baking bread, getting into fights and committing petty thefts.

Now historians able to translate and transcribe the documents are being sought - so they can be rolled out online.READ MORE: Wetherspoon boss promises to slash beer prices to 'unbelievable low' if Brexit happens by October 31

The project is the result of a successful partnership between The Conisbrough and Denaby Main Heritage Group, Doncaster Borough Archives and the Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield. It has been sponsored by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.

The court covered 15 townships in Doncaster, 12 in Rotherham and one in Barnsley and stretched from Thorne and Hatfield in the east to Harthill on the southern border of Yorkshire.

Families can be traced through the Rolls, 166 of which survive.

But only a small number have been transcribed and made available online so far.

Dr Charles Kelham, Borough Archivist, said: "We are looking for people able to translate the court documents, many of which are in Latin and full of medieval court jargon.

"These are very important documents relating to the area's history and give a fascinating glimpse into centuries of Doncaster's history.

"They shed light on normal lives and the crimes and punishments of ordinary people.

Anyone interested in getting involved should contact Doncaster Archives on 01302 734307.