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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 6th April 1853
Final meeting: Wednesday 6th April 1853
The Wensleydale area of North Yorkshire once housed prehistoric tribes, and there is evidence of the existence of both Bronze and Iron Age settlements. In the medieval period a significant part of the Dales was covered with forests which were part of the Royal Hunting grounds. The Dales contains famous villages, towns and historic buildings like Aysgarth, Jervaulx Abbey and Middleham Castle. Today Middleham is one of the most prominent racing centres in the country, but back in 1775 the Wensleydale Hunt came into being, with its first Master being R. John Chapman, nicknamed ‘Old Squire Chapman’.  The Wensleydale Hunt later diversified from hunting and, spearheaded by Lord Bolton, organised a race meeting under rules on Wednesday 6th April 1853. The Give and Take was won by Mountain Deer; the Handicap Chase by Maid of Weasley, and the Open Steeplechase by Captain Tower’s The Spanish Lancer. However, the principal race, the Wensleydale Steeplechase over 3 miles, was a keenly fought contest which ultimately ended up in Lord Bolton’s hands via Zephyr.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord Bolton, Captain Crawford
Principal Races Wensleydale Steeplechase, Handicap Chase, Open Steeplechase

Wednesday 6th April 1853
Wensleydale Steeplechase over 3 miles
1. Zephyr, grey mare owned by Lord Bolton
2. Jeannie, bay mare owned by Mr A Poulett
3. Faux Pas, chestnut mare owned by Mr Straubensee
4. Chantry, chestnut gelding owned by Captain Crawford
5. Petrel, bay gelding owned by Captain Crawford

The only recorded meeting took place on Wednesday 6th April 1853.

Course today On land owned by Lord Bolton.
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    
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