Where better for the notorious William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, to pause on his journey north to meet the armies of Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender? With the massacre of the Stuart supporters at Culloden in 1746, the Prince became the most hated man in England. Obese and childless, he died in his mid-40s.
There used to be a portrait of the old villain hanging in the main bar, but this has now vanished, and has been replaced by a large photograph of Jeremy Clarkson.
Today’s building has some charming barley-twist chimneys and a huge beer garden to the front. It sits bang opposite Doncaster’s Royal Infirmary, and for generations thirsty nurses and medics have taken refreshment within its walls.
You can find a perfectly acceptable John Smith’s, a very well-kept Old Speckled Hen, and there are other real ales on rotation. There’s a decent Oz Chardonnay for £9.49, and a good Shiraz for a penny under a tenner, as well as other choices. The menu is pub grub, but comes in ample proportions, and families enjoy outings here. Apart from Mr Clarkson, there are many large photos of the town as it was – sepia memories of a rather less stressful time.
Sadly, the decoration of the Cumberland is less appealing. Some of the eye-boggling wallpapers look like interference on an old TV set, and the “trendy, modern” vases and knick-knacks used to decorate shelves appear to have been bought as a job lot from a fairground hoopla-stall that was going out of business. The customers here provide the atmosphere, not the décor.
The Cumberland, Thorne Road, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN2 5AA. 01302 360000.