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Earliest meeting: Friday 9th April 1858
Final meeting: Tuesday 10th April 1860
The Wiltshire town of Pewsey lies in the area of Pewsey Vale to the south of Malborough and the east of Devizes. It is close to the vast open countryside of Malborough Downs and Salisbury Plain, which had its own racecourse run by servicemen in the middle of the 20th century. Pewsey Vale also held its own race meetings, initially on Friday 9th April 1858 when the Amateur Steeplechases were staged. Entries and colours had to be registered for the two Sweepstakes at the Bear Hotel, Devizes. The meeting was successful and the next meeting was held on Tuesday 29th March 1859 at the nearby village of Bishop’s Cannings. Over 3000 people attended, arriving at the races using cabs, carriages and canal barges. The course was from the swing bridge to the brook and the entire race was visible from the canal bank. The Selling Race saw Change of Air beat Jeanette, while the Bourton Stakes was won by Mr W Clarke’s Charity. After racing a Dinner was held at Mr Benjamin’s Crown Inn at Bishop’s Canning. The final meeting was staged on Tuesday 10th April 1860 when the main Sweepstake was won by Ottoman who defeated Spider.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr Benjamin, Mr Hayward
Principal Races Bourton Stakes, Pewsey Vale Sweepstakes, Bishops’ Cannings Selling Race

Tuesday 29th March 1859
Pewsey Vale Sweepstakes
1. Change of Air, aged mare owned by Mr Hayward
2. Savernake, aged horse owned by Mr Brown
3. Polly Peachum, aged mare owned by Mr William

The only recorded meeting took place on Tuesday 10th April 1860.

Course today In fields on the edge of the canal, from the swing bridge to the brook at Bishop’s Cannings.
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.
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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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