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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 6th October 1835
Final meeting: Saturday 12th August 1837
Devizes, a Wiltshire maket town which developed around an 11th century Norman Castle, is equidistant from Chippenham and Trowbridge. The first races held in the town were in 1835 when the meeting was promoted by leading figures in the town. Members of Parliament contributed £25 towards the County Stakes and a Town Cup was presented by members of the Borough. The racecourse was situated on Roundaway Down on the outskirts of Devizes, and leading up to the day racehorses were entered at the Bear Inn, signing up for races such as the Claret Stakes, the Beckhampton Inn Stakes and the Devizes Stakes. At that inaugural 2 day meeting on Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th October 1835 the Devizes Stakes went to Revenge for Mr Etwall, and he rounded off a good day by landing the County Stakes with Rustic. Meetings continued for 2 more years with the final meeting held on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th August 1837. Mayflower won both the Devizes Stakes over 2 miles and the later Beckhampton Stakes over a mile. In the latter part of the 19th century races were revived, although the programme consisted of Galloway races, pony races and thoroughbred races outside the rules of racing.

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

Local Patrons Mr Etwall, Mr Holloway, Mr Sadler, Mr Harris, Mr Finch
Principal Races Devizes Stakes, Devizes Stewards Plate, Beckhampton Stakes, Claret Stakes

Tuesday 6th to Wednesday 7th October 1835

The Devizes Stakes over 1 ½ miles
1. Revenge owned by Mr Etwall
2. Unnamed brother to St Nicholas owned by Mr Reeve

The County Stakes over a mile
1. Rustic owned by Mr Etwall

The Beckhampton Inn Stakes over a mile
1. Unnamed sister to Desperate owned by Mr Sadler

The Claret Stakes over a mile
1. Rufus owned by Mr Webb

Friday 11th & Saturday 12th August 1837

The Devizes Stakes over 2 miles
1. Mayflower owned by Mr Finch
2. Forward owned by Mr Sadler
3. Fidelio owned by Mr J R Houghton

Devizes Stewards Plate over a mile
1. Captain Rock owned by Mr Holloway
2. Barney Bodkin owned by Mr Harris
3. Brother to Delight owned by Mr Sadler

Beckhampton Stakes over a mile
1. Mayflower owned by Mr Finch
2. Combat owned by Mr Forster
3. Captain Rock owned by Mr Holloway

The Claret Stakes over a mile
1. Barney Bodkin owned by Mr Harris
2. Unnamed filly by Reveller owned by Mr Sadler
3. Jim Crow owned by Mr A Goddard

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

The final meeting took place on Saturday 12th August 1837.
Course today On Roundaway Down.
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

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