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Earliest meeting: Monday 24th December 1838
Final meeting: Thursday 28th January 1841
The Essex village of Chignal St James is situated about 4 miles North West of Chelmsford, and although the village has less than 250 residents today, it once had its own Roman Villa and was clearly an important farming area. Remarkably, despite having such a small population, it did hold its own series of race meetings beginning on Monday 24th December 1838. The 4 mile course was designed by Mr Barker of Dyers Hall and began in his meadow leading on to Marshbury Road, passing Chignal Hall to the left and after a further quarter mile there was an 18 foot wide brook before the finish. The final meeting was staged on Thursday 28th January 1841 when the Chignal Purse was won by Mr Barker’s Tom Tug. After racing Dinner was served at the Red Cow Inn.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Mr Barker of Dyers Hall, Mr T Crooks (Steward), Mr Cozens (Steward)

Principal Races Chignal Silver Cup Sweepstake, Chignal Purse

Thursday 28th January 1841
Chignal Silver Cup Sweepstakes over 4 miles
1. Schedule, brown gelding owned by Mr Barker
2. Speculation, grey gelding owned by Mr Rowell
3. Bonnivard, brown gelding owned by Mr Bishop

The only recorded meeting took place in Thursday 28th January 1841.

Course today On the Marshbury Road in the vicinity of Chignal Hall.
If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email

Much of the information about this course has been found using internet research and is in the public domain. However, useful research sources have been:-

London Illustrated News

Racing Illustrated 1895-1899

The Sporting & Dramatic Illustrated

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

The Sporting Magazine

A Long Time Gone by Chris Pitt first published in 1996 ISBN 0 900599 89 8

Racing Calendars which were first published in 1727

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

Copies of the above books are only available by emailing stating your requirements, method of payment (cheque payable to W.Slusar) or Bank transfer, and the address where the book(s) should be sent.
Download an order form
  Quantity Cost
Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
Volume 2 South of Hatfield £14.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 3 Wales & Scotland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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