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Earliest meeting: Tuesday  25th February 1845
Final meeting: Tuesday 18th April 1876
The Warwickshire town of Henley in Arden gets its name from the nearby Forest of Arden and has a number of historic buildings, particularly those built along its mile long High Street. Despite its long history the town was not mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book, although on the outskirts of the town Thurstan de Montfort built Beaudesert Castle in the 11th century. It was in sight of this castle on Beaudesert Mount that races first took place in 1845. On Thursday 25th February 1846 the main race was the Arden Stakes and saw Mr Chillingworth’s Red Hawthorn carry 11st 7lbs to victory. On Tuesday 23rd February 1847 a Steeplechase meeting took place in Henley-in-Arden and the Bell's Life and Sporting Chronicle edition of Sunday 28th February 1847 gave details of the races and the course. An extract from the paper is shown below. The meetings were well supported, with racing continuing for the next 30 years. The final meeting entirely for thoroughbreds took place on Tuesday 18th April 1876 when the Forest of Arden Plate over 3 miles was won by Cigar. Racing did lapse after this date but had certainly been revived by 1898, albeit for pony racing, Galloway racing as well as steeplechase and hurdle races.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Guernsey, Lord Willoughby, Captain Haydock
Principal Races

Forest of Arden Plate, North Warwickshire Stakes, Warwickshire Steeplechase

Tuesday 23rd February 1847

The extracts above are shown courtesy of Bell's Life & Sporting Chronicle Sunday 28th February 1847

A meeting took place at Beaudesert Mount on Monday 19th April 1869 with details shown below:-

Tuesday 18th April 1876
Forest of Arden Plate over 3 miles
1. Cigar, aged horse owned by Mr Page
2. Bezique, aged horse owned by Mr Ashton
3. Eskadale, aged horse owned by Mr Vernon
Betting: Evens Cigar, 5/4 Bezique, 3/1 Eskadale

The final meeting entirely for thoroughbreds took place on Tuesday 18th April 1876 after which meetings were intermittent. After a lapse racing had certainly returned by 1898 as detailed below, although the programme included Galloway races and pony races.

The Leamington Spa Courier of Saturday 16th April reported a meeting, still at Beaudesert Mount, on Monday 11th April 1898, details of which are shown below.

Meetings at Beaudesert Mount continued into the 20th century, although the cards did continue to incorporate pony races and non-throughbred races. A meeting on Monday 28th April 1902 was coveered by the Leamington Spa Courier:

As well as the widely reported races at Beaudesert Mount, steeplechase races appear to have taken place on a course about 3 1/2 miles north of Henley in Arden, close to Lapworth and Bushwood Hall, birthplace of Gunpowder Plot conspirator Robert Oatesby. The course crossed ploughed fields and a natural brook, and views of the location of the former course have kindly been supplied by Mike Gettoes. The 4 photographs supplied by Mike show the Betting Booth and aspects of the former steeplechase course.Was this a point to point course and, if so, between which years did it operate?

Course today Around Beaudesert Mount.
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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