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Earliest meeting: Thursday 9th April 1840
Final meeting: Wednesday 17th December 1856
Today Waltham Abbey, named after the Abbey Church of Waltham Holy Cross, is an Essex market town of 20,000 inhabitants on the River Lea, with Epping Forest to its east. However, in the middle of the 19th century it was much smaller and more rural, organising its first race meeting on Thursday 9th April 1840 on the banks of the Lea at Nazing Mead.  There was controversy before the meeting began between the race Committee and the Marshwardens over the positioning of the course, but the matter was resolved when a patch of ground just 5 minutes walk from the town centre was agreed. The meeting itself was equally controversial because the Silver Cup was won by Mr Elmore’s Jerry defeating Mr Sandyford’s Thought with Terror a poor third. However, the third objected to the first 2 passed the post on the grounds they had taken the wrong course, and the Stewards upheld his claim and awarded Terror the race. In the very next race, the Sweepstakes, Thought was first passed the post defeating Mr Price’s Old Billy, but the Stewards disqualified Thought for the second time at the meeting and awarded the race to Old Billy. Meetings continued for the next 16 years in less controversial circumstances until a final meeting on Wednesday 17th December 1856.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr Elmore, Mr Sandyford, Mr Price
Principal Races Waltham Abbey Silver Cup, Waltham Abbey Sweepstakes

Thursday 9th April 1840

Waltham Abbey Silver Cup
1. Jerry owned by Mr Elmore
2. Thought owned by Mr Sandyford
3. Terror owned by Mr Mason
Although this was how they past the winning post, an objection was lodged by the third claiming that the first two had taken a wrong course. The Stewards upheld the objection and the race was awarded to Terror who was ridden by Powell.

Waltham Abbey Sweepstakes
1. Old Billy owned by Mr Price
2. Thought owned by Mr Sandyford
Once again there was controversy, as Thought was first past the post but a successful objection was lodged by Mr Price and the race awarded to Old Billy.

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 17th December 1856.
Course today On the banks of the Lea at Nazing Mead.
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

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