Scottish independence: English town of Doncaster stakes its claim to Scottish heritage

Doncaster: a home away from home for Scots? Picture: Neil Hanna
Doncaster: a home away from home for Scots? Picture: Neil Hanna
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THE civic leaders of the town of Doncaster have suggested that their citizens should be given a vote in Alex Salmond’s independence referendum after historical research suggested that their town is a little part of England that still belongs to Scotland.

Two Doncastrian historians have been researching Anglo-Scottish hostilities 900 years ago when David I of Scotland conquered parts of northern England.

Doncaster was handed to Scotland with the signing of the Treaty of Durham, which ended hostilities in 1136. Another treaty three years later confirmed Scottish-ownership of the Yorkshire town – but new research has found that there is no official confirmation that the former mining town was ever handed back.

The mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies suggested his home town should now be allowed to vote in the referendum. “We would be delighted to take part and if I did I would probably vote for Mr Salmond. I think he is the top politician in the UK at the moment,” said Davies, who represents the English Democrats, the political party committed to English devolution.

“But this is all very new to the people of Doncaster – the realisation that we might still be part of Scotland.”

The quirk of history that has encouraged a Doncastrian intervention in Scottish politics was made by historians Peter Robinson and Charles Kelham. They found that in 1157, Stephen’s successor, Henry II of England, simply took back areas lost to the Scots – but without any official documentation to seal the deal.

Doncaster still has relics from the time. “We have King David coins dating from that time found in Doncaster so the links are certainly there,” said Robinson, the Doncaster museum officer.

The SNP said the residents of Doncaster must be delighted to discover their unexpected Scottish heritage.

“And even although they won’t be able to vote in the independence referendum, it will be little wonder if people in the town – and other parts of England – are casting envious glances north, given the popular policies of the SNP Government compared to the stale fare on offer from the Westminster parties.”