SWINTON CLUB RACECOURSE

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Earliest meeting: August 1872
Final meeting: Tuesday 29th August 1876
The town of Swinton, on the River Don, is in the Borough of Rotherham, South Yorkshire. It first hosted races in 1872 and continued to organise meetings each August for the next 4 years. The course grew up around the nearby Wentworth Estate, dominated by a Grade 1 listed house in Wentworth Woodhouse that was originally a Jacobean house built by Thomas Watson-Wentworth, the 1st Marquess of Rockingham. The course extended from Sandygate in Wath down to the Gate Inn at Swinton, and had already witnessed racing 40 years previous when it was known as Wath on Dearne Racecourse in the 1830s, with a Flat meeting taking place on 11th October 1831 and a National Hunt meeting staged on 16th April 1846. The Swinton Club were an old-established Yorkshire Association and were granted permission to use Windsor Racecourse by Mr Frail for their meeting on Thursday 17th June 1875. The opening race, the Athens Plate over 4 furlongs was won by Mr C Fitzwilliam’s Squib who beat Captain Everton’s Strawberry and Collywobbles. The Hunters race which followed went to Sir C Rushout’s Arbitrator, while the feature race, the Swinton Handicap, was secured by Mr H Davenport’s Blue Rock. The concluding Plate saw Little Boy defeat Elland Burghley. The final meeting at Swinton took place on Tuesday 29th August 1876.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
It is known that racing took place at Wath on Dearne in the early to mid 1800s. For details see Wath on Dearne racecourse.
Patrons Lord Fitzwilliam, Sir G Chetwynd, Sir C Rushout
Principal Races Swinton Handicap, Athens Plate, Clewer Plate

I am grateful to Willy Clayton for the old map of Swinton and Wath on Dearne racecourse. The course was known as Wath on Dearne in the 1830s, with a Flat meeting taking place on 11th October 1831 and a National Hunt meeting taking place on 16th April 1846, and later became more widely known as the Swinton club course in the 1870s.

The course grew up around the nearby Wentworth Estate. A Grade 1 listed house in Wentworth Woodhouse; it was originally a Jacobean house built by Thomas Watson-Wentworth, the 1st Marquess of Rockingham.

The course extended from Sandygate in Wath down to the Gate Inn at Swinton. There is still plenty of evidence of the old course; indeed the Times reported the course being used for cross-country races in the last century. The features of the old course are well known in the area with a house being situated at the old open ditch.

Thursday 17th June 1875
Swinton Handicap over 6 furlongs
1. Blue Rock, 5 year old owned by Mr H Davenport
2. Carnation, 3 year old owned by Sir G Chetwynd
3. Black Prince, 4 year old owned by Mr Cotton
4. Exchequer, 3 year old owned by Lord Fitzwilliam
Betting: 4/5 Blue Rock, 7/4 Carnation, 6/1 Black Prince

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 29th August 1876.
Course today

Today there is clear evidence of the old course over common land, although some of it now disappears under a housing estate.  Racecourse Road means that the old course will be remembered forever and, even today, there are public footpaths across the racecourse.

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:-

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 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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