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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 6th April 1870
Final meeting: Tuesday 26th March 1878
Malmesbury, the oldest Borough in England, was created in 880 AD around Malmesbury Abbey. Today it is a small market town, but racing first took place on nearby Charlton Park in 1870 under the direction of the Beaufort Hunt. Charlton Park House is a Grade I listed building in a large estate north east of Malmesbury in Wiltshire. The estate is owned by the Earl of Suffolk and was built in 1607. The tiny village of Charlton lies to the east of the estate. The sole race meeting was held on Wednesday 6th April 1870 at Bishoper Farm on the outskirts of Charlton Park. The 2 ½ mile course consisted of 16 fences, the most difficult being a leap over 15 feet of water and then a fence, with the start at Bishoper Farm House. The organisers were rewarded with a crowd of almost 6000 people, and a medical gentleman was also in attendance, which seems quite advanced for the time. The Beaufort Hunt is known to have been in existence since at least 1786 when the then 5th Duke of Beaufort had a pack of hounds. However, it took almost another hundred years before the Hunt Committee organised its own steeplechase meeting. That inaugural 2 day meeting took place in Westbury on Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th December 1867 and then became a roving meeting for the next 11 years. The meeting was staged at various times at Dauntsey, Little Sodbury and Charlton Park before resting on Sherston and Alderton. The Beaufort Hunt organised further meetings at Charlton Park in 1871, 1876 and a final meeting on Tuesday 26th March 1878 at a Farm at Bishoper, near Malmesbury, after which racing ceased for 9 years. The final meeting of the Beaufort Hunt under rules was on Saturday 14th April 1956 when a certain John Lawrence, later to become Lord Oaksey, rode at the meeting claiming 7 lbs.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Duke of Beaufort, Marquis of Worcester, Viscount Andover, the Earl of Suffolk
Principal Races

Beaufort Cup, Beaufort Sweepstakes, Consolation Stakes

Tuesday 26th March 1878
Beaufort Hunt Cup over 3 miles
1. Modern School, aged horse owned by Mr R N Hooper
2. Giesler, aged horse owned by Mr F C Morgan
3. Sunbeam, aged mare owned by Mr Tremayne Miles

The final meeting took place on Tuesday 26th March 1878.
Course today

Remains part of the Charlton Park Estate.The Beaufort Hunt continues to hold successful point to point meetings at Oldbury on the Hill.

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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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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