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Earliest meeting: January 1840
Final meeting: Wednesday 24th January 1849
The Merseyside town of Birkenhead lies on the Mersey, on the Wirral Peninsula, and can trace its history back to its Priory built in 1150 when ferries ran between Birkenhead and Liverpool. Nearby is the Cheshire hamlet of Stourton, which was unusual in the 19th century because it contained no public houses. However, in the mid 1800s racing took place on a course which had a circumference of 3 miles with the Storeton windmill in one corner of the course, extending south west toward the village of Barnston. Today the two villages are divided by the M53 which almost certainly stands on some of the ground previously occupied by the racecourse. The races catered for steeplechase enthusiasts only and the fences were large, challenging and guarded by big ditches. The meeting was organised by the Lord of the Manor of Hooton, Sir William Stanley, and in order to improve the view he had of the racing he built a lodge where, from the first floor, he and his family gained an excellent view of the races. Stourton’s main claim to fame as a racecourse was that Louis Napoleon was rumoured to have ridden at the course between 1846 and 1848. The final meeting took place on Wednesday 24th January 1849, with a nail in the coffin hammered in by the Birkenhead Magistrates who ruled that no booths or tents could be erected to serve alcohol, ‘thus the treasury of the steeplechase committee was unexpectedly defrauded of a considerable amount of revenue’. The Hooton Park Steeplechase over 3 miles was won by Mr Tempest’s The Rover, while the feature race, the Stourton Chase, went to Peter Simple owned by Mr S Mason.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Captain D’Arcy, Mr Ralph, Mr Cotgreave
Principal Races Stourton Steeplechase, Hooton Park Steeplechase

Wednesday 24th January 1849
Stourton Steeplechase over 4 miles
1. Peter Simple, bay gelding owned by Mr Ralph
2. La Sylphide, bay mare owned by Mr J Murphy
3. The Knight of Gwynne, bay gelding owned by Captain D’Arcy

The only recorded meeting took place on Wednesday 24th January 1849.

Course today A 3 mile course extending from Storeton windmill to Barnston.
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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