Local History

Finningley is a civil parish and was part of the county of Nottinghamshire until 1974 when, as part of the reorganisation of county boundaries, it came into South Yorkshire and became part of Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster Council. The village is around 6 miles from the centre of Doncaster and at an elevation of seven meters above seal level. The main road through Finningley is the A614, a route connecting Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire.

The village of Finningley dates back a long time. It is recorded in the Doomsday Book as Finig lei which means “a clearing in the fens” with the manor being held by Gilbert Tison. Parts of Finningley Church also date back to this period. Finningley Grange, which until the Reformation had belonged to the Priory of Mattersey, was granted to Sir Martin Frobisher, one of Queen Elizabeth’s most noted admirals, in 1576. It remained in the Frobisher family until the late 17th century when the Harvey family of Ickwell, Bedfordshire took it over and resided there until the late 19th century. During a significant part of this time they became patrons of the church in Finningley, with generations of their sons becoming vicars of the parish. Their name lives on through the naming of the village’s public house and one of the housing developments, Harvey Close.

Green, Duck Pond & Wildlife

The duck pond is held in high regard by the village, it serves as a habitat for all kinds of birds and fish and the occasional fox. The Maintenance of the pond is undertaken by the Parish Council. The willow trees are regularly pollarded to improve the coverage and general planting around the pond bank ensures that it looks great in the summer months. The village is also known for having resident Peacocks, which have been a part of life here for decades.

Airport

Finningley is known for it’s airport, formerly RAF Finningley which stationed part of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, a V-Force of Vulcan Bombers during the Cold War and for 35 years the RAF hosted a regular Airshow. Today the airport is known as Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield and serves as an International Airport. The Vulcan Bomber XH558 is the last flying Vulcan and its final year of operation in air displays is 2015. The XH558 will be permanently based at the airport as a museum piece and is expected to still have her engines fired up from time to time.

Historic entry for Finningley

One of our residents has kindly shared this quotation from a old book in their collection.
The History & Antiqities of Doncaster And its Vicinity, with Anecdotes of Eminent Men” published in 1804 by Edward Miller, Doctor of Music (organist at St Georges)

The entry for Finningley reads:
The village is situated in Nottinghamshire, to which a considerable estate is annexed, property of John Harvey of Bedfordshire, Esq.  The land is rather low but fertile, producing large crops, particularly wheat and rapes.  The manor-house is at present occupied by Thomas Cooke, Esq. a son of George Cooke of Yarborough, of Streetthorpe, Esq.
In this neighbourhood particularly, and indeed, in most parts of what are called the Levels in Hatfield Chace, vast quantities of trees are dug out of the boggy earth; they are cut into pales of a black colour and sold at Doncaster and other places, to make fences for their gardens, etc., for which purpose, from their durability, they are of excellent use.
 
Mr Thorseby is of the opinion, “that these trees were natives of the place and cut down by the Romans: because the Britons when defeated in battle retired into such morasses and woods, and were secure, but continually making sallies out and retreats in again.  By these sallies the Romans were so tormented, that public orders were issued out for destroying all their woods: And it is observable, that the Emperor Severus, (who died in York) is said, in a few years, to have lost 50,000 men in this work, which was performed partly by fire,and partly by axes, etc. cutting down such as remained.  The burnt wood and fir-cones, taken out of the mosses, have upon them evident marks of the tools wherewith they were hewed down; these, by their falling, occasioned the mosses by the stagnating of the waters, and perpetual deterrations.
Francis, the father of Sir Martin Frobisher, resided at this place.  The mother of Sir Martin, was daughter to Mr. Rogers, of Everton.  His grandfather William, married Margaret, daughter of Matthew Boynton, of Barmston, Esq.  His great grandfather Francis, was recorder of Doncaster; married Christian, daughter of Sir Brian Hastings, Knight, and purchased lands at Doncaster.  Mansier’s account of Yorkshire families.
CHURCH  There is nothing interesting to mention in this church.  The parish register begins in 1595.