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Earliest meeting: Monday 20th May 1850
Final meeting: Tuesday 11th June 1878
The County Durham town of Tow Law, just a few miles south of Consett, is on the road linking Darlington and Dalkeith. It has a rich history, its name meaning ‘tot hlaw’ which translates to ‘lookout mound’. Racing was originally staged on a course on former barracks in the town, and later moved to a more accessible course near the cattle market. The earliest record of a meeting was on Monday 20th May 1850 when the opening Sweepstake was won by Mr Hudson’s Ellerdale. A popular race at each meeting was the Hedley Hope Hunt Stakes which was won by Mr B Reed’s Nimrod on Monday 11th May 1874 and by Mr Hawe’s Rob Roy on Tuesday 30th May 1876. The final 2 day meeting, the Tow Law Hunt Meeting, was staged on Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th June 1878 when the Hedley Hope Hunt Stakes was won by Mr John Row’s Recruit beating Sidestroke. Racing continued intermittently in the town, but not under rules, until the early part of the 20th century.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr J Ord, Mr R Muse, Mr William Scott (Stewards)
Principal Races Hedley Hope Hunt Stakes, Tow Law Hunt Cup, West Durham Hunt Cup

Monday 20th May 1850
Tow Law Town Plate
1. Queen of the Tyne, bay mare owned by Mr Hopwood
2. Inheritress, bay mare owned by Mr N Potts
3. Ellerdale, aged horse owned by Mr Hudson

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 11th June 1878.

Course today Initially on former barracks and then next to the Cattle Market.
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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