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Earliest meeting: October 1744
Final meeting: Tuesday 1st October 1839

The Shropshire market town of Wem lies 9 miles north of Shrewsbury and is on the important rail line running between Shrewsbury and Crewe. The town is steeped in history, for it is known that Iron Age settlers were in the region before the Romans also settled near Wem. The ‘County History of Shropshire’ recorded that a race meeting took place in Wem as early as October 1744 when held on a ‘new course’, implying the earliest meeting was much earlier than this date. The next time a meeting was recorded was a two day affair on Monday 7th and Tuesday 8th October 1816, after which racing continuing for the next 23 years. In 1818 a second ‘new course’ was mentioned, and in late September 1833 yet another new course was used which included a Grandstand. The Hunters Stakes, which was staged on Monday 24th September 1832, was sponsored by Sir Rowland Hill. James Whyte’s History of the British Turf also noted that racing took place in 1838, athough the one day meeting in early October consisted of very inferior racing. The final 2 day meeting took place on Monday 30th September and Tuesday 1st October 1839 when entries were accepted at the Bucks Head Inn. On the first day the Cleveland Stakes was won by Mr Phillip’s Taffy, while the North Staffordshire Hunt Stakes went to Mr E Hughes’s Mary Wood. On the second and final day Taffy completed the double by landing the Hawkstone Stakes, while the meeting concluded with a Handicap landed by the 5 year old Jenny Jones. After racing an Ordinary was served at the White Hart Inn.
This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Sir Rowland Hill, John Walmsley, Mr T Murhall Griffith, Mr T Dickin Browne (Stewards)

Principal Races Roden Stakes, Broughton Stakes, North Shropshire Hunt Stakes

Tuesday 1st October 1839
Hawkstone Stakes over twice round and the distance
1. Taffy, bay gelding owned by Mr Phillips
2. Lady Sarah, chestnut filly owned by Mr Cunnah
3. St John, black gelding owned by Mr Lowe

The final days racing took place on Tuesday 1st October 1839.

Course today Initially on Common land on the edge of the town.
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.
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    
Postage & Packaging    
Email order form to johnwslusar@gmail.com