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Earliest meeting: May 1830
Final meeting: Wednesday 5th May 1841
The area of Hertfordshire known as Nomansland lies to the south of Harpenden and to the south-west of Wheathampstead. A vast area of open grassland called Nomansland Common was an ideal setting for horse racing and it was in 1830 that a local man, Thomas Coleman, decided to organise races for the first time. Although steeplechasing had been going for a while, it was usually confined to landed gentry matching their skills against one another, racing between two church steeples. In 1830 Coleman saw the potential to turn it into a spectator sport and held his first meeting in May 1830. Racing continued at Nomansland for a further 11 years until a final meeting on Wednesday 5th May 1841. That final meeting opened with a £50 Match over 1 ½ miles in which Mr Edward’s Chance beat Mr Scott’s Swallow. The last race, the Nomansland Hurdle over 3 leaps, saw Whalebone defeat The Moor and Morgliana. The venue probably suffered as a result of the Grand National being introduced at Aintree in 1839, because Coleman realised he could not compete with such a spectacle.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons John Coleman
Principal Races Nomansland Hurdle, Nomansland Steeplechase, Wheathampstead Stakes

Wednesday 5th May 1841
Wheathampstead Stakes over 1 mile
1. Arrian, aged horse owned by Mr Scott
2. Jim Crow, aged horse owned by Mr Smith
3. Kate Kearney, bay mare owned by Mr Jenkins

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 5th May 1841.
Course today On Nomansland Common.
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

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.
Download an order form
  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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