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Earliest meeting: Friday 29th August 1732
Final meeting: Thursday 9th July 1857
The city of Lancaster, county town of Lancashire, first held races to the west of the city on Lancaster Marsh next to the River Lune. Baily’s Racing Register provided detailed results from that meeting which took place on Friday 29th August 1732 when Whittington, owned by Mr Rawlinson, won the 50 Guineas Purse which was sponsored by Grace, Duchess of Hamilton. Racing was popular and cards drew quality horses to the city. A meeting on Thursday 29th June 1782 included a match between an unnamed colt for Mr Fergusson and Rebecca owned by Sir Watkins Wynn. It was won by the former despite Rebecca finishing runner up in the 1000 Guineas when 8/11 favourite just weeks earlier. Enclosure of the marsh took place in 1796 which meant a new racecourse had to be developed on Lancaster Moor, opening in 1809. Interest declined in the early 1840s until a Management Committee, headed by the Earl of Milltown and Sir T G Hesketh, raised the profile of the meeting and instigated the building of a new grandstand in 1848. That year the Lancaster Cup over 2 miles was won by Mr S L Fox’s Lecomte, while in the Revival Handicap Tom Tough got the better of Otterburn. Racing began to decline again in the 1850s until the final meeting took place on Thursday 9th July 1857 with small fields, questionable riding by the jockeys, ‘roughs from Preston’ and every kind of gambling dodge in full swing. The local newspaper commented, ‘We fancy this will be the last meeting of the kind in Lancaster and no one who has any regard for morality can wish to see it perpetuated.’

This racecourse is covered in Volume 1 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons

Grace Duchess of Hamilton, Lord G H Cavendish, Lord Surrey, General Sharpe, Honorable J S Barry, Duke of Hamilton

Principal Races Gold Cup, Grace, Duchess of Hamilton 50 Guineas Purse, Borough Members Plate, Town Plate

Friday 29th August 1732

Grace, Duchess of Hamilton 50 Guineas Purse
1. Whittington owned by Mr Rawlinson
2. Camilla owned by Mr Salkield
3. Creeper owned by Mr Bracken
4. Vulcan owned by Mr Barton

The items shown below are for the 1848 meeting and are provided courtesy of Terry Ainsworth.
The account shown below is provided by Terry Ainsworth.

Account from the Lancaster Guardian on Saturday July 11th 1857
Stewards: -
The Right Honourable the Earl of Ribblesdale, Lord Cavendish MP, Le G N Starkie Esq
Clerk of the Course: -
Mr J N Ellithorn
Handicapper & Treasurer: -
John Carruthers
Starter: - Mr Thomas Wesley
Judge: -
Mr R Dixon
“The Lancaster race meeting was held on Wednesday and Thursday last and says the turf reporter of the Manchester Guardian, “Notwithstanding the great exertions that have this year been made by its promoters and the promising appearance of the programme which they put forth, it must be looked upon as a failure.  The limited number of horses (15) that arrived there to contest the different prizes which were liberally supplied with added money rendered small fields inevitable as well as a repetition of the same horses performing.  The attendance of people was anything but numerous and chiefly comprised of people from the town and its vicinity.  Many members of the Manchester ring were present to whom betting was almost confined and in several instances ended much in favour of the bookmakers.  All the gentlemen officially connected with the meeting seemed much to regret that such a shameful scene should have taken place as did with regard to the running of the horse “Honesty” for the Stand Plate who could have won easily and they informed us that as far as their influence would go they would use it to prevent heats again being contested or even selling stakes again being run for at Lancaster.”  The scenes on the course also fully bore the assertion of those who have so frequently pointed out the immorality engendered at these meetings.  The attendance of respectable persons was only meagre but there was an abundance of “roughs” from Preston and elsewhere whose society is by no means to be courted.  Every kind of gambling dodge was in full swing and many a greenhorn returned home fleeced of his money by these sharpers.  The second day proceedings terminated as usual with a few brutal fights.  We fancy this will be the last meeting of the kind in Lancaster and no one who has any regard for morality can wish to see it perpetuated.”

7th to 10th June 1762

Lancaster 4 mile Purse
1. Bashaw owned by Mr Chaplin
2. Schemer owned by Honorable J S Barry
3. Blossom owned by Mr Parker

Lancaster 2 mile Stakes
1. Vizier owned by Mr Chaplin
2. Guid’em owned by Mr Parker
3. Lively owned by Mr Pearson

Monday 10th to Wednesday 12th June 1782

Lancaster 10 Guineas Sweepstake over 3 miles
1. Unnamed filly by Otho owned by Mr Pratt
2. Unnamed filly by Herod owned by Lord G H Cavendish
3. Protestant owned by Mr Braddyll
The winners colours were Red with a Black cap

Tuesday 29th June to Thursday 1st July 1824

Lancaster Produce Match over a mile one furlong
1. Unnamed colt by Grey Middleham owned by Mr Ferguson
2. Rebecca owned by Sir W Wynn
What is remarkable was that Rebecca had started the 8/11 favourite for the 1000 Guineas a few weeks earlier, only to be defeated by Cobweb at 5/2 second favourite.

Lancaster Town Plate over 2 miles
1. Bos owned by Mr T Powlett
2. Unnamed colt by Zeno owned by Mr Jackson
3. Young Corrector owned by Mr Simpson

Lancaster Gold Cup over 3 miles
1. Wanton owned by Mr Ferguson
2. Adroit owned by Mr Clifton
3. Condorus owned by Mr Robinson

Lancaster Borough Members Plate over 2 miles
1. Sir Roger owned by Mr Bretherton
2. Bos owned by Mr T Powlett
3. Rosemary owned by Mr Morley

I am grateful to Terry Ainsworth for the map shown below of Lancaster Racecourse on Lancaster Moor.

Terry Ainsworth has provided the map shown below of the Lancaster Racecourse Grandstand.

The final meeting took place on Thursday 9th July 1857.
Course today Initially on Lancaster Marsh and then Lancaster Moor.

I am grateful to Ordnance Survey (© Crown Copyright) for permission to use the map shown below.

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:-

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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