CROSBY RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Thursday 26th May 1577  
Final meeting: Saturday 22nd July 1876
The earliest recorded racing in the vicinity of Liverpool was at Crosby in May 1577. The Crosby Bell Flat race was run on Ascension Day with the prize being a silver bell which had been donated by Edward Torbock. The course started in Crosby and finished south of Crosby in nearby Bankhall. Mr Torbuck envisaged it being an annual event contested each Ascension Day. Although no mention of a further running of the Crosby Silver Bell exists, races in Little and Great Crosby continued, albeit it on more of a purpose built course adjacent to Crosby Marshes. The English Civil War lasted from 1642 to 1651 and put paid to any races taking place in the town during this period of unrest. However, shortly after the end of the War prominent supporters of the meeting, notably Viscount Richard Molyneux and his family were keen to re-establish the races, and Richard attended Crosby races regularly right up to his death in 1654. The Viscounts later gained the title of The Earl of Sefton. The ‘History of Lancashire’ recorded that a diary kept by Nicholas Blundell of Great Crosby noted that ‘On 3rd April 1704 I saw a race on Crosby Marsh between Mr Hay’s mare and a horse of Mr Molyneux from Liverpool’. His diary later noteed that ‘Again on 1st July 1704 I went to Crosby races; there were 5 starters for the plate and a mare of Maikins of Prescot won it.’ Racing ceased at Crosby for a period of approximately 40 years from the mid 1730s until 1774, but race organisers returned with renewed vigour and held a 3 day meeting in the summer of 1774 which, for the first time, included a dedicated grandstand for viewing. As well as the racing the customary Ordinaries took place, with a Race Ball organised each day. The final meeting at the Crosby Marsh course took place in 1786. However, although the races were not sufficiently important to be included in the Racing Calendar, a meeting did take place some 90 years later which was named the ‘Great Crosby’ meeting and results were included in the Racing Calendar. The final meeting took place on Saturday 22nd July 1876.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Derby, Edward Torbuck, Lord Molyneux, Earl of Sefton, Mr Branhall, Sir R Grosvenor
Principal Races Crosby Silver Bell

Thursday 26th May 1577

Crosby Silver Bell over 4 ½ miles
1. Unnamed horse owned by Mr Bramhall
2. Unnamed horse owned by Mr Sutton
3. Unnamed horse owned by Edward Torbuck

October 1730

Crosby 25 Guineas Plate
1. Ticklepitcher owned by Lord Derby
2. Terror owned by Sir R. Grosvenor
3. Unnamed Grey mare owned by Mr Bates
4. Vulcan owned by Mr Egerton

The final meeting took place on Saturday 22nd July 1876.
Course today On Crosby Marsh.
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 johnwslusar@gmail.com

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 johnwslusar@gmail.com 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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