The historic county boundary between Leicestershire and Derbyshire is the River Mease, which runs through the village, with the village centre being on the southern (Derbyshire side), forming part of an exclave of Derbyshire. In 1086, Donisthorpe was part of the land given to Nigel of Stafford by William the Conqueror.
When administrative counties were set up, this exclave was considered to be part of Leicestershire.
The railway came to Donisthorpe in 1873 in the guise of the Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway, see the Battlefield Line Railway (the last existing section of the ANJR) for more details.
The village was also home to the Donisthorpe Colliery, one of the many to fall victim to the decimation of the coal mining industry. The pit closed in 1991, and the character of the village has changed radically over the last decade. At the time of the closure it was very much a 'mining village', with a strong but insular sense of community and 4 local shops (including a post office). The shops proceeded to close one by one, and the former mine site was developed into a housing estate. The colliery site has since become the Donisthorpe woodland park.
The population of the village leans far more heavily now towards young professionals - doctors, lawyers etc. Further signs of the departing heart of the old community came with the departure of the vicar of St John's Church in 2006. It was announced there would be no permanent replacement, with the vicarage being sold, whilst the church hall has now been condemned. The Church is now part of a team ministry based in the nearby village of Measham. The erstwhile vicar Alan has moved to Thringstone Whitwick and Swannington where he has continued the vicaring career.
The village now has a church of fairly regular use (Sundays and occasional midweek meetings), 1 shop (opened in 2014), 2 pubs and DM's. DM's is the Donisthorpe Miners' Welfare Centre, which was closed during 2005. It is now used as a children's fun centre called "Jungle Madness". It also has a couple of farms, Scouts centre and the cemetery.
Donisthorpe Football Club
Donisthorpe also has a senior men's football team called Donisthorpe F.C., who currently play at Moira United F.C., but are hoping to move back into the village.
They were crowned Burton & District Sunday League Division 4 Champions in the 2012/13 season.
- The Domesday Book
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