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Earliest meeting: Saturday 15th October 1678
Final meeting: Thursday 14th March 1895
The Staffordshire city of Lichfield has a Cathedral with 3 spires which dates back to 700AD, and a former racecourse which first staged races on Saturday 15th October 1678. It is likely that races were held annually from this point, although they did not take place in 1685 because of a rebellion. The next year a Subscribers Plate and the Lichfield City Plate were contested at a two-day meeting held on Tuesday 27th and Friday 30th August 1686. These early meetings were probably staged on Fradley Common, but by 1702 the meetings had moved to Whittington Heath, south west of the city. The course was a large oval course of 2 miles in circumference, with a separate sprint course for 5 furlong races. The course was mainly flat and also hosted the Anson Hunt meetings. Racing was popular with nobility, meetings well attended, and racing continued until the final meeting on Thursday 14th March 1895.

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

Lord Essex, Lord Portmore, Lord Milford, Sir W Vavasour, Lord Anson, Sir G Pigot, Colonel Yates, Sir T Stanley, Lord Rancliffe, Sir M Featherstone

Principal Races Gold Cup, Staffordshire Stakes, Lichfield City Plate

Baily’s Racing Register provided detailed results from races held at Lichfield in 1727. The meeting was held on the 20th September and the result is shown below.

Saturday 20th September 1727

Lichfield 50 Guineas Plate
1. Smiling Ball owned by Lord Essex
2. Carlisle Gelding owned by Mr Bainbrigge

Baily’s Racing Register records a meeting taking place in September 1734 with race details shown below.

Friday 10th to Sunday 12th September 1734

Lichfield 20 Guineas Prize
1. Lady Legs owned by Mr Try
The Chestnut mare beat a field of 6 others, although no further details were provided.

Lichfield 40 Guineas Prize
1. Quiet Cuddy owned by Mr Peirse
2. Dunkirk owned by Lord Portmore

A meeting took place on Tuesday 7th September 1762 and the course was situated at Whittington Heath on the outskirts of the city of Lichfield. The course was a large oval course of 2 miles in circumference, with a separate sprint course for 5 furlong races. The course was mainly flat and also hosted the Anson Hunt meetings.

Tuesday 7th September 1762

Lichfield Kings 100 Guineas run over 2 miles
Henricus owned by Sir M Featherstone
Julius Caesar owned by Mr Smith
Unnamed horse owned by Mr Chaplin

Tuesday 10th to Thursday 12th September 1782

Lichfield His Majesty’s Purse over 3 miles
1. Tetrarch owned by Mr Laurell
2. Obscurity owned by Lord Milford
3. Cora owned by Sir W Vavasour

September 1804

Lichfield September 1804 A £50 race for 3 and 4 year olds.
The race stretched over 5 Two mile heats before Sir Ullie M’Killigut, owned by Mr Clifton, was declared the winner, being the first to win two heats:-
Sir Ullie M’Killigut owned by Mr Clifton   4  4  1  0  1
Laura owned by Mr Coventry                    0  1  3  0  2
Mary owned by Mr Kellerman              3  3  4  2
Optician owned by Mr Brooke’s       0  2  2

Tuesday 14th September to Thursday 16th September 1824

Staffordshire Stakes over a mile
1. Fille de Joie owned by Mr Yates
2. Miss Robson owned by Sir G Pigot
3. Cheshire Lass owned by Lord Anson

Lichfield Gold Cup over 3 miles
1. Euphrates owned by Mr Mytton
2. Active owned by Sir G Pigot

Lichfield City Plate over 2 miles
1. Belmont owned by Mr Peach
2. Filho da Puta owned by Mr Gisborne

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

The final meeting took place on Thursday 14th March 1895
Course today Much of the course is owned by Whittington Golf Club, part of the Grandstand being their Clubhouse. The winning post is still visible.
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:-

Northern Turf History Volumes 1-4 by J.Fairfax-Blakeborough

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 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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Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
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