Doncaster’s Five Minute Histories

Make yourself a cuppa, put your feet up, and travel back in time with Doncaster’s Five Minute Histories. These audio recordings provide immersive experiences and recreate true events through storytelling, and sound effects.

Doncaster’s Five Minute Histories are written by Heritage Doncaster staff, and produced by Rob Pearson. Sound effects by Gary Hammond. Voices by Heritage Doncaster staff and volunteers. Additional credits can be found below each track summary.

Track 1: The Story of Joan Jurdie

Joan Jurdie was a real person who lived in Doncaster in the 17th century. She was accused of witchcraft, by her neighbours, in 1605 and, on this occasion, the Mayor of Doncaster was convinced of Joan’s innocence. Unfortunately, for Joan, she was charged again in 1608, for using witchcraft to cause the deaths of Hester Dolfin, Jane Dolfin, and George Murfin. We do not know the outcome of this case, but if found guilty she was likely to have been hanged.

Find out more about witchcraft accusations in Doncaster.

Track 2: A Hooton Pagnell Love Story

During the First World War, Hooton Pagnell Hall in Doncaster was turned into a hospital for wounded soldiers. The Hospital was overseen by Julia Warde-Aldam, who owned the hall. Men from all over the world came to the hall, to be treated for a variety of wounds. In the midst of war, a romance developed between Winifred, an Irish nurse, and a Canadian soldier called Teddie.

Teddie and Winifred went on to marry in the spring of 1919, using Hooton Pagnell Hall for their wedding reception! Soon afterwards, they travelled to Canada, where they began their life together. Teddie and Winifred had a long and happy marriage, and had four sons. Throughout the course of his service, Teddie had been wounded 5 times and was awarded the Military Medal. Teddie died in 1960 aged 73, and Winifred four years later aged 80.

As you listen to this story, you may be wondering why Teddie’s mother sounds English. Well, family research suggests that Teddie’s mother was originally from Dudley, and moved across to Canada as a young woman!

* By kind permission of Mark Warde-Norbury
† By kind permission of Brian and Steven Mulvey

Guest voices: Narrated by Brian Mulvey. Teddie Mulvey voiced by Steven Mulvey. Steven and Brian are descendants of Teddie Mulvey.

Track 3: Sarrius the Potter

Potters Secundua and Setibogius are selling pots at a market just outside of the Roman fort at Danum, on the banks of the River Don. Their master, Sarrius, is a renowned potter. In this story, Sarrius comes to check on them at work, and brings with him news that could change their lives forever.

Sarrius was a potter and entrepreneur who had moved from Mancetter, in North Warwickshire, to near modern-day Rossington, in Doncaster, to start up a pottery factory. He was a great opportunist, who recognized that the Roman Army provided the chance to sell his wares. Pottery with Sarrius’s stamp has been found in several places across Britain, including Bearsden, just north of Glasgow, which indicates that he supplied the soldiers at the Antonine Wall.

Sarrius employed craftsmen from across the Roman Empire; this included Secundua and Setibogius, who may have been free-born natives from tribes near Doncaster. Sarrius may have also employed skilled potters from the Gaulish territories occupied by the Roman Empire, now located in modern day France.

Music: Seikilos Epitaph with the Lyre of Apollo by Lina Palera (Lyre 2.0 Project player) CC BY NC SA 3.0

Track 4: Charles Ward VC

Charles Ward, a soldier from the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, performed a heroic act that saved the lives of his comrades during the Boer War. His bravery earnt him the respect of his entire battalion and the ‘Victoria Cross’, a medal awarded by Queen Victoria herself. Join the people of Leeds as they celebrate his arrival home!

Hundreds of people are there to greet Charles at the train station, including the Lord Mayor, local councillors and his own family. The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry’s band plays music, and Charles is taken to the Grove Hotel for a celebratory luncheon; after which, Charles was awarded a specially struck gold medal by Mr William Owen of Leeds and a cheque for £600, equivalent to over £60,000 today. On this occasion the Leeds Mercury published a poem that had been specially written for Charles, entitled ‘A Welcome from T’Leeds Loiner’.

Read more about Charles Ward’s story here.

Guest voices: Charles Ward voiced by Pete Scholey. Crowd voices: Claire Pearson, Danyl Pearson and Robert Pearson. Poem, ‘A Welcome from T’Leeds Loiner’, read by Mark Butterfield.

Additional sound effects: Steam Age Railway station, edited by Benet Bergonzi, British Library, Tram Tracks by Marcin Dymiter aka Emiter (via Bostjan Troha, Katarina Batagelj & Konrad Gutkowski. Music: ‘With Jockey to the Fair’ (Quick March of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry) and ‘I Want To Be A Military Man’ by Louis Bradfield (1900).

Track 5: Nature and Industry

This soundscape describes the changing landscape of Brodsworth Colliery from its beginnings as a coalmine, in the early 1900s, up to today. Listen to the track for sounds of a thriving mining industry; then, notice the soundscape slowly revert to nature.

The site of Brodsworth Colliery, now Brodworth Community Woodland, was once a booming coalmine, employing over 4000 people and producing many thousands of tonnes of coal. In fact, Brodsworth Colliery was known to many as the ‘Queen’s Pit’, because much of this coal supplied Buckingham Palace.

Brodsworth Colliery closed in 1990, after nearly 90 years of mining, and this had a huge impact on the local community. For several years, the site remained derelict, until 2001 when the site was transformed into a community woodland.

If you are lucky enough to enjoy this green space, whether you are walking the dog, fishing or horseriding, take a moment to look around and notice how coal mining has shaped this landscape. Remember the time when Coal was King.

Additional sound effects: Nature sound effects sourced via, made by Tanguy Lois, Le Roy Renaud, Arend Wassink, Tomasz Kulakowski, Bodo Sonnenburg, Mark Shorten and Simon Elliot. Crowd sound by FxProSound. Industry sound effects sourced via, made by Dušan Oblak, Boštjan Troha, Jens Meißburger.

If you would like to get involved in Doncaster’s Five Minute Histories or for any queries please email us at [email protected]