Campsall is a former mining village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster, South Yorkshire on the border with North Yorkshire; it is a village to the north-west of Askern and is the central village in the former Campsall Parish located in the West Riding of Yorkshire; it contains Campsall Country Park; the Parish also includes the settlements of Norton, North settlement and Sutton, South settlement, which are to the north and south respectively.
The Parish is situated on the “Magnesian Limestone Belt”, a landscape feature formed by a narrow north-south trending escarpment; the Belt is typified by well drained and fertile soils which were ideal for agriculture and the establishment of settlements like Campsall.
Prior to the industrial revolution, the area to the east was occupied by the inaccessible and waterlogged marshes of the Humberhead Levels, whilst to the west was the Barnsdale Forest, an area associated with the legend of Robin Hood and various outlaws and bandits who preyed upon travellers on the Great North Road.
Following the departure of the Romans, who had a small fort two miles to the west which guarded the crossing of the River Skell by the Great North Road, an early wooden Saxon church was established at Campsall, although nothing of this remains today; later on a large Norman church was built out of local stone to serve the local population who were engaged with agricultural and rural employment during the mediaeval period; during this time Campsall was rapidly growing in importance; a public house, the Ring of Bells, now called the Old Bells, was opened near the church and this pub is believed to be one of the oldest in Yorkshire.
During the 18th century the village was dominated by the landed gentry; at opposite ends of the village, the Bacon-Franks constructed Campsall Hall and the Cooke-Yarboroughs built Campsmount; the villagers were still mostly employed with farming and working on the two estates and even the establishment of nearby Askern Colliery in 1910 had little impact on the work force of Campsall.
It was not until the 1950s that major changes began to affect the village; during this time the Bacon-Franks abandoned Campsall Hall; it was rumoured that Mrs Bacon-Frank was growing tired of the view of Askern Colliery from the Hall; from 1956 the local authority and the NCB developed a large area of housing in Campsall Park and Campsall Hall was converted into flats until 1986 when it was demolished; the Cooke-Yarboroughs had left Campsmount in the late 1930s and the building was used as a military hospital until demolition in the 1950s.
Today Campsall has become established as a village of two parts; there is the old village near the church which still retains some of its rural charm, its cottages occupied by commuters who work in Leeds, Sheffield, Pontefract and Doncaster; there is also the newer part of Campsall formed in the 1950s from the Council and NCB housing projects.
Askern Colliery ceased production in 1993 and after several years of relatively high unemployment the local people are beginning to find new employment opportunities, although many of the social problems associated with former mining areas remain.
Campsall is famous for the number of high speed MGF racers who frequent the local side roads and meet regularly at the Old Bells public house.