The Victoria History of Leicestershire
The parish of Castle Donington in north-west Leicestershire lies on the south bank of the river Trent, 20 miles north-west of Leicester and 8 miles south-east of Derby. A nucleated village developed on the present site more than 1,000 years ago. A castle was built in the 1150s, and several features of a town soon developed, including a market, fair and hospital. Secondary settlements grew up alongside the Trent, by the King’s Mills and at Cavendish Bridge, the site of an important medieval ferry. Donington Park, which originated in the early 13th century as a hunting park, became a separate estate of the earls of Huntingdon in the late 16th century.
Later history has been shaped by strong religious nonconformity and the growth and then decline of traditional industries in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since then, modern transport links, including East Midlands Airport in the south of the parish, have delivered new employment opportunities. Castle Donington in the early 21st century is thriving. Many people travel in daily to work, and thousands more visit the motor-racing circuit at Donington Park and other leisure attractions each year, yet few know of the parish’s rich history.
This book, the first in the Leicestershire VCH series since 1964, examines the changing patterns of landscape, landownership, working lives, social structure and religious worship in Castle Donington across many centuries, and includes the settlements at King’s Mills and Cavendish Bridge. It will be of interest to local residents, visitors, family and local historians.