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Earliest meeting: Tuesday 3rd April 1838
Final meeting: Thursday 3rd February 1870
Diss, in the valley of the River Waveney, is a market town in Norfolk which takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon meaning ditch. The town first staged racing on Tuesday 3rd April 1838 on a steeplechase course of 3 ½ miles starting at Burgate Church and progressing to Thrandeston Green. The main race of the day was the 3 ½ mile Diss Sweepstake which was captured by Mr W Bett’s Dwarf, with the Heavyweights Purse going to Hector Munro’s Fieschi at the expense of Magic and Jack Straw. After a successful day of racing there were Ordinaries served at both the Crown Inn and King’s Head. Meetings continued on a regular basis and on Thursday 16th April 1863 the event took place in fields owned by Mr W Moore, with Benjamin Button acting as umpire. The Diss Stakes was won by Despised, owned by Mr W Chaston, beating Harvey’s Sauce and Smuggler, while the Hunters Stakes went to The Caravan owned by Mr Heaviside.  The final meeting took place on Thursday 3rd February 1870.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Benjamin Button, Mr W Moore, Captain Michell, Sheldrake Smith of Frenze Hall

Principal Races Diss Sweepstakes, Diss Heavyweights Purse

Tuesday 3rd April 1838

Diss Sweepstake over 3 ½ miles
1. Dwarf owned by Mr W Betts
2. Gulbeyaz owned by Mr Bignold
3. Champion owned by Mr Fuller
The winner was ridden by Oldacre and the second by Sapey.

Diss Heavyweights Purse for 40 Sovereigns
1. Fieschi owned by Hector Munro
2. Magic owned by Mr Bignold
3. Jack Straw owned by Mr Farrow
It was noted that after the races The King’s Head and Crown Inn provided entertainment.

The final meeting took place on Thursday 3rd February 1870.
Course today

The 3 ½ mile course would now cut across two main roads, the A1066 and the A143, from the Parish Church to the Church of Saint Margaret’s Thrandeston.

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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  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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