ERIDGE HUNT RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Monday 26th April 1886
Final meeting: Monday 17th April 1911
Eridge Park has a long history and can trace its roots back to 1066 when it became owned by the Neville family. They later became the Marquesses of Abergavenny and the Park and House became their home. The Park is located on the Crowborough to Tunbridge Wells road and was made famous in 1753 when Queen Elizabeth I stayed at Eridge Park Hunting Lodge for 6 days whilst travelling through Kent and Sussex. In 1792 the Second Earl of Abergavenny converted the old house on the estate into a gothic Castle and renamed it Eridge Castle. The West Kent Woodland Hunt came into being in 1870 and hunted mainly in the Tunbridge Wells area of the county. In the latter part of the 1800s the Hunt became known as the Eridge Hunt and broadened their interest beyond foxhunting and into racing. The Eridge Hunt Steeplechases, although known as the West Kent Hunt meeting at this stage, were run on the Eridge Castle estate at Steel Bridge Farm. The inaugural meeting took place on Monday 26th April 1886. Principal races at that meeting were the West Kent Woodland Hunt Cup and the Eridge Plate. For the next 3 years the races continued under the West Kent name, but in 1889 they were renamed the Eridge Hunt meeting. That first meeting of the Eridge Hunt was held on Monday 22nd April 1889, meetings continuing, with some lapses, until 1911 when the meeting was held on 17th April of that year. The 1912 meeting was cancelled due to a coal strike, meaning the final official meeting was the one held on Monday 17th April 1911, although Bona Fide meetings continued afterwards..

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Earl of Abergavenny
Principal Races Eridge Plate, West Kent Woodland Hunt Cup

Monday 26th April 1886
West Kent Woodland Hunt Cup over 3 miles
1. Chance, aged horse owned by Mr J Dashwood
2. Unique, 5 year old owned by Mr Iquique
3. Birling, 6 year old owned by Mr J Edgeworth
Betting: 2/1 Chance, 3/1 Unique, 5/1 Birling

The final official meeting took place on 17th April 1911, although Bona Fide meetings continued afterwards.

Course today

Eridge Castle was demolished prior to the start of the Second World War so that a modern house could be built instead.

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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