STAMFORD RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: Thursday 7th March 1619
Final meeting: Friday 25th July 1873
The earliest evidence of racing in the vicinity of Stamford was in 1619 when the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Stamford organised horse races for the Guilded Cupp (sic) and produced Articles detailing how the races should be run. The Staarmford (sic) races were held on Wittering Heath on a four mile oval course within a rectangular field, with each jockey being allocated 10 st. The first time the Guilded Cup was contested was on Thursday 7th March 1619. In 1717 a new racecourse was chosen in the South of Stamford, situated about 1 ½ miles from the town centre between Collyweston and Easton-on-the-Hill.  The principal race at this time was the Guilded Cup, renamed the Stamford Gold Cup. It was not until 1776 that a purpose built Grandstand was erected on two floors, with the top floor being reserved for the noblemen. Baily’s Racing Register first provided detailed results from races held at Stamford on 6th June 1727. The earliest record of racing on the Burghley House Estate at Stamford in Lincolnshire was from 14th to 18th June 1762. The racecourse was a flat, oval course of about 10 furlongs with a 4 furlong straight run-in. A later mile straight course was built which joined the old course at the Easton turn. In 1820 the Easton-on-the-Hill course was enclosed, by then including the one mile straight course. By the 1850’s the principal race changed to The Clifden Cup and within 14 years it had a prize of 200 Sovereigns. Thousands attended the racing, some travelling considerable distances, and this would have led to a difficulty in ensuring that they all had a bed for the night. The nearby Burghley House would offer accommodation to the noblemen and aristocracy, but local hotels were full to bursting. The main hotels at this time were The George Inn, The Bull and the Swan. The final meeting was staged on Friday 25th July 1873.

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

Duke of Ancaster, Sir C Eversfield, Captain Oliver, Marquis of Exeter, Lord Exeter, Lord Offory, Colonel Wilson, Lord Gower, Lord Cardigan, Sir M Newton

Principal Races

Stamford Guilded Cup, Stamford Gold Cup, Clifden Cup, Donation Cup Stakes, Ancient Donation Plate, Earl of Exeter Plate, Town Plate

Friday 6th June 1727

Stamford £40 Plate
1. Miss Wilkins owned by Lord Gower
2. Gander owned by Lord Cardigan
3. Cuckold’s Luck owned by Mr Wrigglesworth
4. Conqueror owned by Sir M Newton

Stamford Ladies Plate of £80
1. Smiling Ball owned by Mr Turner
2. Carlisle owned by Mr Bainbrigge

The Racing Calendar of 1751 was undertaken by Reginald Heber following the death of John Cheney who had initiated the project many years earlier. He records that Stamford held a three-day meeting in May 1751 with race details shown below.

Thursday 20th to Saturday 22nd May 1751

Stamford Five Year Old £50 Purse
1. Sweet Lips owned by Mr Josiah Marshall
2. Camilla owned by Mr Michael Ann
3. Hip owned by Mr Denshire

The Earl of Essex £50 Purse
1. Dutchess owned by Mr Thomas Duncomb
2. Prim owned by The Earl of Portmore
3. Squeaking Jenny owned by Mr Archbould

14th to 18th June 1762

Stamford 2 mile Purse
1. Fanny owned by Mr Bowles
2. Charlotte owned by Mr Parker
3. Picture owned by Mr Quick

Stamford 3 mile Purse
1. Dizzy owned by Mr Chaplin
2. Unnamed Horse owned by Sir C Eversfield
3. Driver owned by Mr Tomlinson

Tuesday 11th to Thursday 13th June 1782

The Stamford Antient Donation Plate run over 2 miles
1. Cui Bono owned by Mr Robinson
2. Driver owned by Mr Terrewell
3. Rodney owned by Mr Freeman

The Earl of Exeter Plate over 2 miles
1. Prince Herod owned by Mr Clarke
2. Last owned by Lord Offory
3. Smart owned by Mr Golding

Four Stamford racecards have been provided by John Martin and can be accessed using the links below.

Stamford Races 1820 Stamford Races 1826 Stamford Races 1827 Stamford Races 1828

Tuesday 29th June to Thursday 1st July 1824

Stamford Town Plate over 2 miles
1. Ghost owned by Lord Exeter
2. Broomstick owned by Mr Longden
3. Beaumont owned by Mr Ward

Stamford Gold Cup over 4 miles
1. Zealot owned by Lord Exeter
2. Unnamed filly sister to Schedam
3. Slouch owned by Dr Willis

Stamford 50 pound Sweepstake donated by the Marquis of Exeter
1. Unnamed filly sister to Schedam owned by Colonel Wilson
2. Ghost owned by Lord Exeter
3. Victory owned by Dr Willis

James Whyte’s History of the British Turf notes that Stamford racecourse was a mile in circumference and kept in good order and was situated on Wittering Heath. He records the 3 day mid-June meeting of 1839 had races such as:-
Marquis of Exeter Plate;
Stamford Public Subscription Purse;

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

The final meeting took place on Friday 25th July 1873.
Course today Less than 2 miles from Stamford, between Easton-on-the-Hill and Colleyweston.
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:-

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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Volume 1 North of Hatfield £19.99 + £4 postage    
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