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Earliest meeting: Thursday 14th April 1864
Final meeting: Thursday 29th April 1875
The Essex settlement of Childerditch, in the borough of Brentwood, was the host area for race meetings under the direction of the South Essex Hunt. The Hunt dates back to at least 1820 and the first Master was Charles Newman. The meetings were held in the mid to late 1800s, with an inaugural meeting held on Thursday 14th April 1864. The course at Childerditch had a grandstand covered by an awning and very severe fences, including an 8 foot wide ‘ugly’ brook and several stiff fences. The principal race, the Essex Hunters’ Steeplechase over 3 miles, was claimed by Mr Dawson’s Croydon at the expense of The Vicar. The next year, on Thursday 20th April 1865 the 3rd Essex Rifle Volunteers Band entertained the crowd between races, when the opening Farmers’ Stakes was won by Mr G Gosling’s Sailor, beating Fairlop and Ploughboy. The Hunters’ Stakes, over 3 miles, which followed went to Mr J S Gale’s Confidence, while the feature race, the Essex Stakes, was won by Mr Cassidy’s Harkaway. Meetings were well received and continued for the next 11 years until the final card was staged on Thursday 29th April 1875.

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

Sir T B Lennard, Sir C C Smith, Mr H Lawrence (Clerk)

Principal Races Essex Stakes, Whalebone Stakes, Essex Farmers’ Stakes

Thursday 14th April 1864
Essex Hunters’ Steeplechase over 3 miles
1. Croydon, aged horse owned by Mr Dawson
2. The Vicar, bay gelding owned by Mr Vickerman
3. Kate, brown mare owned by Sir W O’Malley
Betting: 2/1 The Vicar, 3/1 All Fours, 4/1 Croydon, 4/1 Kate

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.

The final meeting took place on Thursday 29th April 1875.

Course today On common land on the outskirts of Childerditch complete with a grandstand covered by an awning.
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.
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  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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