A South Yorkshire village which was home to a leading suffragette and the last of the Vulcan Bombers

The duck pond at Finningley
The duck pond at Finningley
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Finningley in South Yorkshire  is a village with interesting links to the RAF and the suffragettes.

Finningley in South Yorkshire is a village with interesting links to the RAF and the suffragettes.

The church in Finningley village

The church in Finningley village

The birthplace of Emily Howey, daughter of the parish rector, Thomas Howey. Emily was a leading figure in the suffragette movement, a militant activist along with her sister, Mary, who was jailed at least six times between 1908 and 1916.

The village, around six miles from Doncaster, is also synonymous for its connection with the RAF and aircraft.

For 35 years, when it was RAF Finningley, the air base hosted an air show which by the 1990s had become the largest one-day military show in the country.

During the Cold War, it was also home to a ‘V’ Force of Vulcan Bombers and it was the end of the hostilities which heralded the end of the base which closed in April 1996, unfortunately also meaning the end of the air show.

It was not the end of its connection with fascinating aircraft however. The last flying Vulcan Bomber XH558 is a permanent fixture at the airport. After the base closed, there were several campaigns to make it a commercial airport on the basis of its 3,000 yard (2,700m) runway, the second longest in the North of England and long enough to accommodate Concorde.

While it did not host the iconic plane, which was retired in 2003, it was the same year the conversion of the RAF base into a commercial airport was approved.

Originally in Nottinghamshire, boundary changes led to it joining Yorkshire in 1974. It is recorded in the Domesday Book as Finig lei, which means ‘a clearing in the fens’.

True to its historical legacy, the village has a glorious duck pond, cared for by the parish council. It is surrounded by trees and planted for a great display during the summer. The pond itself attracts a variety of wildlife.

Unusually, the village also has some resident peacocks which have been part of the community for several decades.

The village has a school, a village hall which is home to a number of groups and activities, a busy community group which organises events and an active church community.

The church of Holy Trinity and St Oswalds is a Norman Church with a history dating back to pre-1100. A Norman archway at the back of the nave leads to the oldest part of the church, the tower, which was built between 1080 and 1090.

The churchyard at Holy Trinity and St Oswalds is also special, having been managed as a conservation area since 1994.

It has won a number of awards for its work in preserving a place for wildlife and attracting some wonderful varieties of flora and fauna.