This interesting surname is of English locational origin from a place thus called in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The placename is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Donecastre, and derives its name from the river "Don", on which it is situated, with the second element being the Old English pre 7th Century "ceaster" meaning a city or walled town, originally one that had been a Roman station; hence "city on the river Don". The surname is first recorded in the late 12th Century, (see below). One, William de Danecastre, is registered in the Lincolnshire Feet of Fines (1259), and John Doncastre is noted in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns (1379). Other recordings of the surname from the Yorkshire church registers include; Maria, daughter of Christopher Doncaster, who was christened on February 1st 1568, at Darrington, and his daughter Anna was also christened there on January 14th 1569; Martin Doncaster married Margaret White, on July 7th 1574, at Arksey; and on July 31st 1578, Francis Doncaster married Elizabeth Clarke, at Pickhill with Roxy. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Laurence de Doncastrie, which was dated 1183, Early Yorkshire Charters, during the reign of King Henry 11, "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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