Scope and Content

Quarter Sessions records for the borough of Doncaster

Administrative / Biographical History

Under the provisions of the Municipal Corporations Act, 1835, (5 and 6 William IV, ch. 76, section 103), separate courts of quarter sessions could be granted to municipal boroughs. Doncaster (as well as Leeds and Pontefract also in the West Riding of Yorkshire, all three of which had all possessed their own courts of quarter sessions prior to the Act) was granted the right to hold quarter sessions courts in 1836. The jurisdiction of quarter sessions was superseded by the Crown Courts created by the Courts Act, 1971 (see QS/14/4)

The letters patent of king William IV granting quarter sessions to the borough of Doncaster, dated 24 June 1836, is to be found at QS1/1. No records of the Doncaster court, in its post-1835 form, survive before 1842. Order and indictment books were kept up to the early 1850s, but thereafter up to 1930 the only surviving formal record of business are the brief tabular statements of cases in the minute books (see QS/3/1-3). From 1930 to 1971 the minute books contain a full record of the business of the court. Sessions rolls, containing the original records of the court, are preserved from 1919 to 1932 and from 1953 to 1971, although some miscellaneous records, probably strays from earlier sessions rolls, are to be found at QS/10/1-3. These series are supplemented by the minute books of the recorder (the presiding judge of quarter sessions, who was always a barrister) from 1857 to 1971 and, from 1963 to 1971, by those of the assistant recorder also (see QS/7 and QS/8). Records of possible genealogical interest are those which contain lists of jurors: see QS/2/1, 2/2, 2/3 and 11/1

Access Information


Public Records

Public access to records less than 100 years old is restricted under Data Protection legislation and at the request of HMCS. Please contact Doncaster Archives directly for further information.


Part of the records of the Doncaster Borough Quarter Sessions

Related Material

The quarter sessions records of the borough before 1835 are to be found amongst the archives of the borough of Doncaster (see Doncaster Archives reference AB5/2) as prior to that date the powers of quarter sessions were exercised by the borough corporation by virtue of the letters patent granted to the borough by king Henry VII in 1505. This original grant does not survive, but its provisions are repeated in the letters patent of king Henry VIII (see Doncaster Archives reference AB/1/5).

A copy of the grant was lodged with the clerk of the peace for the West Riding of Yorkshire, and is to be found amongst the archives of the West Riding court of quarter sessions (West Yorkshire Archives Service Headquarters, West Riding of Yorkshire Quarter Sessions, reference QE/9)