The history of Bawtry has continually been defined by the Great North Road running through it linking the south with the north of England.
From the early Middle Ages it was on the strategic route from London to York and formed part of the direct link between the peak district and Europe.
Bawtry was once an important coaching stop on the old Great North Road, where horses were changed on the way to Scotland.
- Roman legions use the River Idle to distribute goods and
personnel and there us ample evidence of occupation in the
3rd and 4th centuries AD.
- Until its establishment as a market town in 1213 (any earlier
pre–Domesday settlement was probably centred around the
west bank of the river).
- Bawtry grew in the 14th century benefiting from a strong
strategic position as a port on the Great North Road.
- Bawtry utilized its position to survive troubled times (mid 16th
century) and continued to develop its river trade in the late 16th
and early 17th centuries.
- During the late 18th and early 19th centuries Bawtry became a
highly prosperous community, with new wealth flowing in to the
town from the coaching trade along the Great North Road.
- The opening of the Chesterfield canal in 1777 brought a decline
in Bawtry’s river trade, but the town was able to adapt and thrive.
The construction of a new bridge and many large town houses
signified the towns growing confidence and great affluence.
- Bawtry remained an important coaching centre
between 1780 and 1830.
- Although the introduction of railways in 1848 saw the decline in
long distant coaching, Bawtry was able to adapt as a ‘feeder’
town with coach services linking to the major railway terminals of
Rotherham and Doncaster.
- The majority of buildings in the present town centre date from
the years 1780–1840. Bawtry Hall, churches and a number of
coaching inns were established at this period.
- In the late 19th century as Doncaster market gained importance
and the railway reduced the coaching business on north south
routes. Although the new Town Hall (1890) established a sense
of revitalized public spirit, Bawtry entered period of decline, and
the number of recorded inhabitants dropped off.
- During the Second World War, Bawtry Hall became one the
main headquarters of RAF Bomber Command.
- Bawtry has grown in the 20th century much due to increase in
motor traffic and proximity to A1. Residential development has
taken place around the centre of the town and there has also
been much infilling in the old core, both for houses and shops.
- The opening of Robin Hood International airport in 2005 at
nearby Finningley has affected development pressure on land
and stimulated traffic growth.
© doncaster.gov.uk | Read more: Bawtry Conservation Area
Then and Now
It’s interesting to see how our town used to look when everything was in ‘black and white’.