Blaxton is a civil parish situated, since April 1974, in the county of South Yorkshire
and in the Doncaster Metropolitan District. Before that date, it was situated in
the West Riding of Yorkshire, one of the three divisions of the great county of York.
It lay on the southern border of the county and the name of the community derives
from the name 'Blackstone'. Blaxton does not appear in the Domesday Book of 1087
and the earliest written reference dates from 1213, when it is named as 'Blacston'
in the records of the central government. This spelling, or something similar, was
customary for centuries. On the map in Edward Miller's History of Doncaster, published
in 1805, it appears as Blakestone. The name is likely to refer to the location of
a stone that traditionally marked a boundary. The boundary that it would most recently
mark would be the county boundary of Yorkshire. However, the boundary it originally
marked may be even more ancient, perhaps that of the southern boundary of the Anglo-Saxon
kingdom of Northumbria, the kingdom `North of the Humber'. The name of the village
probably received its current spelling, as with many other places, from the surveyors
of the Ordnance Survey, who first put Blaxton on their first map of Yorkshire, on
a scale of one inch to one mile, published in 1 February 1841. This map, incidentally,
shows the boundary stone to the south-east of the village cross roads.
Blaxton was part of the soke of Hexthorpe, later known as the soke of Doncaster,
another ancient institution, probably dating from the time of the Norsemen. They
colonised Yorkshire under their leader Halfdan, who in the year 876 decided that
it was more profitable to settle in the country that they had previously only raided.
The soke was a unit of local government with its own court and Blaxton effectively
remained part of the soke until 1835, when the magistrates of Doncaster ceased to
exercise their jurisdiction over the village.
From the earliest times, Blaxton lay in the ecclesiastical parish of Finningley.
Although part of the West Riding, Blaxton, like its neighbours Austerfield, Auckley,
and Blyth were not part of the great diocese of York. They were part of the archdeaconry
of Nottingham. This was part of the diocese of Lichfield then, from 1836, part of
the diocese of Lincoln before becoming part of the new diocese of Southwell, to which
these parishes still belong.
Blaxton has been through its history a small rural community. In 1811, the first
time its population was counted separately, it had 132 residents. There were 146
of them by the mid century and 149 by 1901. These figures, however, disguise a picture
of growth and then decline, in common with many agricultural communities in the course
of the nineteenth century, as employment opportunities fluctuated and finally went
into long-term decline as foreign food imports competed all too successfully with