History of Middleham Racing Stables
© John Slusar 2024
The North's Premier racehorse training centre for over 250 years; Newmarket of the North
Trace the history of the most famous racing stables in Middleham, from the time they were first built, to the present day masters of their trade, producing Classic winning thoroughbreds, as well as Gold Cup, Grand National and Champion Hurdle winners year on year, to ensure that thoroughbred breeding lines continue to put the Yorkshire Dales town at the forefront of British racing under both codes.

I am extremely grateful to a number of people who have provided invaluable help whilst I completed this project, especially James Tancred.

Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders of all scans in this section of the site. Some contributors have asked to be acknowledged for their contributions and their wish has been granted. If anyone thinks they own an image used then contact the site owner.

If you have access to further maps, photographs, information or artefacts which will enhance this section of the site then email johnwslusar@gmail.com so that your items can be included.

Early Meetings in the Vicinity of Middleham
Richmond (1512), Hambleton (1612), Ripon (1664), Leeds (1682), Bedale (1726), Middleham (1729), Northallerton (1765), Harrogate (1793), Skipton (1805), Tadcaster (1837), Scruton (1840), Wharfedale (1845), Thirsk (1854), Burley in Wharfedale (1865)

Arundel House Ashgill Bolton Hall Brecongill Brough Farm
Cappall Lodge Castle Hill Stables Castle Stables Fell View Ferngill
Glasgow House Highbeck Lodge Kingsley House Kingsley Park Kirkgate
Leyburn House Manor House Middleham Moor Oakwood Sharp Hill Farm
Spigot Lodge Sun Hill Farm Sunsque House/Dante Yard Thorngill Tupgill
Warwick House Warwick Lodge Wynbury    
Middleham, known today as 'Newmarket of the North', is rightly regarded as the North's premier racehorse training centre and can trace its racing history back to the early 1700s, although the town itself played its part in English history well before then.

The town originally had a motte and bailey castle on what was then known as William's Hill, which seems a most appropriate name given its present day association with racing. Near to that original motte and bailey site, but closer to the centre of the town, are the ruins of its later more famous Castle, which was built from 1190 by Robert Fitzrandolph, the 3rd Lord of Middleham, and which passed into the hands of the Neville family in 1270. The Castle, dubbed 'Windsor of the North,was later the childhood home of King Richard III (2nd October 1452-22nd August 1485). Richard III was born in Fotheringhay Castle, but spent several years between 1461 and 1465 in Middleham under the tutelage of his cousin, Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick, who played such a significant part in the Wars of the Roses that he was known as the Kingmaker. The Castle remained in Royal ownership, but was allowed to deteriorate, and was all but ruined in the 17th century. It is clear today that much of the stonework from the ruined Castle was used to build houses in the vicinity of the Castle. But how did Middleham become such an important centre for racing?

Middleham Moor was used to exercise horses well before 1700, and it is known that a racecourse was laid out on Middleham Moor in 1729, as the first occasion Baily's Racing Register provided detailed results from Middleham was the 3rd April 1729 meeting when a 51 Guineas Plate for 5-year-olds was won by an unnamed bay mare owned by Lord D'Arcy, with the Duke of Bolton's Moorhen in fourth.

However, 3 years before that a private stud book compiled by Mr Cuthbert Routh made reference to a 50 guineas Subscription Plate on Middleham Moor, but no further details or results remain. The next year, 1730, the races took place on 2nd April 1730 when the 51 guineas Plate saw Mr Hutton's Sloven defeat Mr Smith's son of Snake. A year later John Cheny's Historical list of horse matches and plates noted that races were staged on 25th March 1732 and resulted in Mr Hudson's Fair Play beating Mr Vane's Midge. A decade later a meeting was staged on Middleham Moor in November 1739, as recorded in James Whyte's History of the British Turf, but Whyte scathingly remarked that the races were of little interest. Little did he know how important Middleham would become less than 40 years later when it began sending out St Leger winners more regularly than any other training location in the country. Its links with racing probably began in 1678 when the First Duke of Bolton, Charles Paulet, built Bolton Hall, close to Middleham. The Duke served King Charles II between 1670 and 1676, and was then MP for Winchester. He was appointed Colonel of Militia Horses from 1697 to 1699, and regularly exercised his horses on Middleham Moor, although it is uncertain whether he raced on the Moor at that stage. When he died suddenly on 27th February 1699 the title passed to his son, also Charles Paulet, 2nd Duke of Bolton (1661-21st January 1722) and, on his death, to Charles Powlett, 3rd Duke of Bolton (3rd September 1685 to 26th August 1754). It was during the life of the 3rd Duke of Bolton that Middleham rose to prominence in the racing world. The Duke was an influential figure in the development of racing throughout the country and was a founding Member of the early Jockey Club in 1727, which later morphed into the present day Jockey Club, thought to have been founded in 1750, although there are direct links between Members of the 1727 Jockey Club and the 1750 Jockey Club. The Duke, whose colours were blue, trimmed yellow saddle cloth, yellow cuffs and livery coat, owned Whitefoot, winner of the King's Plate at Newmarket in 1720. The Duke joined forces with other members of the nobility, the Dukes of Bridgewater, Devonshire, Rutland, Hamilton, Somerset and Wharton, and each subscribed to the Noblemen and Contributions Purses in October 1726, and together launched the October Sweepstakes which were first contested at Newmarket on Thursday 26th October 1727 when won by Sweepstakes, a chestnut horse owned by the Duke of Bolton. In 1729 the noble Dukes discussed introducing a new, more valuable early season 100 Guineas sweepstake for 4-year-olds, which were referred to as colts and fillies, as they were the youngest horses to be raced at that point in racing history. The race became known as the Great Stakes at Newmarket, the first of which was staged on Thursday 23rd April 1730 when the Duke's Fearnought was second to Lord Lonsdale's Monkey. The Duke won the 3rd Great Stakes with Starling on Saturday 23rd April 1732.
It is of little surprise that the Duke wished to promote racing near to his Bolton Hall home; he would have exercised his horses on Middleham Moor; probably held early Matches there; and helped to organise that first reported meeting on 3rd August 1729. It is worth researching those early races to see how deeply the Duke was involved in their promotion, which a few years later led to the development of racing stables in Middleham and on Middleham Moor. It is known that a Mr Thuyes trained on Middleham Moor before 1759, and was closely associated with Bay Bolton, bred by Sir Matthew Pierson and owned by the Duke of Bolton. A couple of the earliest Middleham trainers were Isaac Cope, who began training at Tupgill in 1760, and John Hoyle who started training at Ashgill in 1762. They were the pioneers, but soon afterwards there was a rapid increase in the number of trainers training on Middleham Moor, and a little later in the town itself.  The final Middleham meeting took place on Whit Monday 20th May 1872 and by then Middleham was firmly established as an excellent training centre, having already sent out at least 23 winners of the Doncaster St Leger. Racing in North Yorkshire had already been staged for over 2 centuries before that inaugural meeting at Middleham in 1729.

The photo above, of Middleham gallops in the winter, is shown courtesy of Jock Simpson.

The earliest record of racing in Richmond is 1512, while Hambleton, and Black Hambleton, staged races from 1612, and became one of the three most widely recognised, important racing venues in the country, the other two being York and Newmarket. Other courses followed, Ripon in 1664, Leeds in 1682, Bedale in 1726 all came before Middleham in 1729. Within a century, racecourses had opened at Northallerton in 1765, Harrogate in 1793, Skipton in 1805, Tadcaster in 1837, Scruton in 1840, Wharefdale in 1845 and Thirsk in 1854, and it is surprising that, of all these venues, only Ripon and Thirsk have stood the test of time. Nevertheless, Middleham remains ideally placed as a training centre, with as many as 9 Yorkshire racecourses within an hour's drive of the town; namely Beverley, Catterick, Doncaster, Pontefract, Redcar, Ripon, Thirsk, Wetherby and York. Today Middleham remains home to more than 20 prominent racing stables, and its famous gallops continue to prepare Derby, Gold Cup and St Leger winners, in addition to other winners of Classics and Group races, although maybe not quite as frequently as it did it in 18th and early 19th Century.

Index of Middleham Trainers
Adams, James (1863-1956) Glasgow House 1909-1911
Ambler, Samuel (1881-1936) Warwick House 1914
Armstrong, Frederick Lakin (Sam) (1904-1982) Ashgill 1926-1945
Armstrong, Gerald Robert (1899-1979) Tupgill/Ferngill 1924-1941, Thorngill 1942-1962
Armstrong, Robert Bob Ward (1865-1956) Tupgill 1923-1950
Armytage, Roderick Roddy Charles (1934-2014) Brough Farm 1989-1994
Arnull, William (1820-1887) Glasgow House 1849-1852
Bailey, Liam Little Spigot 2019-present
Bates, Frederick (1840-1906) Tupgill 1873-1900
Bearpark,William Ashgill 1863-1865
Bentley, Walter (1936-2015) Ashgill 1979-1985, Highwall/Oakwood 1986-1995
Bethell, Edward Thorngill 2020-present
Bethell, James D W Sunsque Cottage/Manor House 1992-2000, Clarendon House 1996-2005, Tupgill 2001-2005, Thorngill 2006-2020
Binnie, James (1830-1888) Kirkgate 1881-1882
Black, Frederick Beardsall (1871-1945) Tupgill 1902-1905
Blades, Isaac Spigot Lodge 1819-1847
Blackshaw, Harry Fawcus (1919-1986) Warwick Lodge 1953-1979, 1983-1984
Boyd, Alexander West End Stables 1943-1944, Tupgill 1945-1949
Briggs, Arthur Samuel 1829-1872 Spigot Lodge 1869-1872
Brook, Danny Brough Farm 2020-present
Brook, Ms Julia Brough Farm 2016-2020
Burke, Karl Spigot Lodge 2000-present
Burke, Elaine Spigot Lodge 2011-2014
Cape, Isaac (1720-1798) Tupgill 1760-1798
Carr, Ernest Joseph (1916-1996) Glasgow House 1952-1958
Casebourne, Oswald Ossie James (1886-1929) Spigot Lodge 1919-1921, Thorngill 1921-1923
Casebourne, Vernon Andrew (1886-1932) Thorngill 1920-1923
Chaloner, Thomas (1839-1886) Ashgill 1863-1865
Chaloner, Thomas O (1865-1937) Glasgow House (Sundial House) 1898-1903
Chisman, Peter (1924-1984) Glasgow House 1972-1974
Colling, Robert Bob Weston (1872-1960) Spigot Lodge 1903-1917, Ashgill second yard 1903-1906
Collingwood, Eric Edmund Thorngill 1972-1977
Collinson, Francis (1772-1812) Ashgill jockey & trainer for 12 years
Collinson, William (1763-1827) Middleham jockey & trainer for 18 years, Tupgill manager to James Croft
Colven, Richard Dick (1901-1963) Wynbury/Glasgow House 1948-1951, Leyburn House/ Castle Stables 1952-1955
Connor, Thomas (1850-1925) Thorngill 1894-1919
Croft, James Jim (1787-1828) Assisted John Lonsdale then Glasgow House 1815-1828
Crook Andrew Andy Oakwood 2001-2002, Ashgill Yard Two 2002-present
Crump, Neville Franklin (1910-1997) Warwick House 1946-1989
Dale, Thomas Henry Ashgill 1899-1900, Tupgill 1900-1901
Dawson, George (1797-1867) Tupgill 1844-1849
Dawson, George Lodowick (1837-1895) Tupgill 1860-1862, 1871-1873
Dawson, James (1821-1877) Assisted brother Tom at Tupgill
Dawson, John (1827-1903) Assisted brother Tom at Tupgill, Middleham (unknown stable) 1855-1865
Dawson, Joseph (1825-1880) Assisted brother Tom at Tupgill Middleham (unknown stable) 1849-1853
Dawson, Mathew (1820-1898) Tupgill 1848
Dawson, Thomas Sutherland (1840-1886) Tupgill 1862-1866, Glasgow House 1865, Thorngill 1873-1880
Dawson, Thomas (1809-1880) Brecongill 1830-1849, Tupgill 1849-1872, Thorngill 1872-1880
De Mestre, Etienne Eddie George (1874-1932) Warwick House 1910-1911
Dilly, William Middleham Moor (West End) 1846-1847
Donoghue, Patrick Joseph (1910-1980) Warwick Lodge 1950-1952
Drake, John Jack Edward (1895-1979) Warwick House 1914-1915, 1924-1939
Drewitt, Richard (1815-1874) Middleham Moor (West End)1841-1850
Drislane, John Paddy (1827-1891) Middleham Moor 1879-1891
Duffield, Mrs Ann Sunhill Farm, Constable Burton 2000-present
Easterby, Walter (1892-1987) Warwick Lodge 1928-1931
Elliott, J Tupgill 1851-1852
Elsey, Charles Frederick (1881-1966) Glasgow House 1911-1913
Everitt, Michael Anthony Hamil (1915-1962) Warwick Lodge 1942-1947
Fairhurst, Christopher Brigant (Leyburn) House, West End 1993-1994, Glasgow House 1994-present
Fairhurst, Thomas Squeak (1927-2022) The Cottage/Tupgill 1969-1977, Glasgow House 1977-1993
Fawcus, John Jack W (1908-1967) Ashgill 1946-1967
Fobert, John (1800-1869) Spigot Lodge 1847-1869
Graham, George Middleham Moor 1892-1897
Haigh, William Bill Wilson Leyburn House/ Castle Stables 1958-1961
Hall, Henry Harry (1819-1896) Kirkgate 1865-1879, Spigot Lodge 1880-1896
Hall, Miss Sarah Elizabeth Sally Brecongill 1968-2016
Hall, Samuel (1918-1977) Brecongill 1948-1968, Spigot Lodge 1968-1977
Hall, Thomas (1905-1948) Brecongill 1945-1948
Hammond, Michael Micky D Tupgill 1991-1999, Oakwood 2000-present (except 2001-2002)
Harker, Geoffrey Alan Bolton Hall 2002-2005
Harper, John Samuel (1870-1956) Warwick Lodge 1933-1941
Harrison, Robert Alan Arundel House 1990-1996
Hartigan, Joseph Henry (1919-1997) Ferngill/Tupgill 1960-1962, Thorngill 1963-1971
Haslam, Benjamin Castle Hill Stables 2010-present
Haslam, Patrick C (1948-2017) Warwick House 1991-1994, Castle Stables 1995-2000, Manor House 2000-2009
Hayes, James Patrick (1877-1916) Warwick House 1911-1912
Horton, James Brecongill Bottom Yard 2021-present
Hoyle, John Ashgill 1762-1785
Incisa, Don Enrico (1934-2005) Thorngill 1981-2005
Jackson Christopher Kit (1716-1795) Middleham Moor 1765-1790
Johnson, Robert Bob (1788-1852) Tupgill 1831-1843
Johnson Middleham Moor 1895-1897
Johnston, Charlie Kingsley Park 2009-2022 (jointly) 2023-present
Johnston, Mark S Kingsley House 1988-2022, Warwick House 1994-2022
Jordan, Mrs Joan Manor House 1991-1992
Keniry, Mrs Stephanie Warwick Lodge 2016-2021
Kettlewell, Steven E Tupgill 1988-2001
Kirby, Phil Sharp Hill Farm 2012-2014
L'Anson, Robert (1818-1881) Glasgow House 1852-1854
Leng, John William Thorngill 1923-1924
Lockerbie, Graham (1946-2008) Warwick Lodge 1980-1982
Lofthouse, Thomas Middleham Moor 1907
Lonsdale, John (1762-1825) Tupgill 1799-1825
Lonsdale, Watson (1792-1868) Tupgill 1825-1843, Glasgow House 1844-1846
Lumley, William (1791-1878) Middleham Moor 1842-December 1845
Lund, Thomas Middleham Moor 1867
Lunn, Thomas Henry (1836-1909) Middleham Moor 1878-1880
Lyde, Wilfred Edward Lt-Col (1893-1978) Thorngill 1932-1939, Spigot Lodge 1946-1966
Lye, George Dawson (1833-1888) Spigot Lodge 1872-1879
McCormack, Edward Ned (1875-1955) Warwick Lodge 1912-1928
Makin, Phillip Sunhill Farm 2021-present
Mangle(s) John Jack (1750-1831) Ashgill jockey/trainer 1785 onwards, Ashgill & Brecongill 1790-1820
Mangle, John jnr Brecongill 1851-1858
Manning, Daniel P Tupgill 1905-1906, Ashgill 1906-1907
Marchant, Samuel (1842-1882) Middleham 1868-1872 for T Masterman
Mechie, Neil Dante Yard 2021-present
Milligan, Miss Mary Kate (1960-2020) Brough Farm 1995-1996, Fell View 1997-2001, Castle Stables 2001-2009
Moore, George M Kingsley House 1985-1986, Warwick Lodge 1987-2016
Moorhead, David Joseph Warwick Lodge 1984-1986
Murless, Charles Francis Noel (1910-1988) Brecongill 1941-1944
Murphy, Ferdinand Ferdy (1948-2019) Highwall/Oakwood 1995-1997, Wynbury 1997-2013
Murphy, Paul T J Cappall Lodge 2008-2010
Murray, William Bill F (1923-1993) Leyburn House/Castle Stables 1968-1976
Musgrave, J Middleham Moor 1842
Nesbitt, Mrs Myra (1933-2020) Kingsley House 1982-1984
Nesbitt, Stephen Steve (1930-1982) Kingsley House 1977-1982
Neville, Pat Sunhill Farm 2021-present
Oates, George snr (1793-1862) Ashgill 1820-1836
Oates, George jnr (1831-1890) Kirkgate 1859-1861, Middleham High Moor 1866-1872
Oates, William (1819-1861) Kirkgate 1853-1861 jointly with brother George
O’Brien, William Bill Glasgow House 1961-1963 for Ken Boardman
O’Keeffe Jed Highgate, Brecongill 2000-present
Osborne, Frederick William (1872-1944) Brecongill 1920-1937
Osborne, John Howe snr (1801-1865) Ashgill 1836-1865
Osborne, John Howe jnr (1833-1922) Brecongill 1869-1919
Osborne, Robert Howe (1837-1892) Ashgill 1865-1892, Ferngill 1880-1892
Osborne, William Howe, (1829-1891) Ashgill 1865-1891 with brother Robert
Page, Thomas Betts, Major Glasgow House 1975
Payne, Kenneth Kingsley House 1973-1976
Peacock, Henry Harry Dobson (1889-1975) Spigot Lodge 1931-1937
Peacock, Matthew Dobson (1856-1935) Manor House 1894-1935
Peacock, Matthew Matt James (1879-1951) Manor House 1935-1951, Glasgow House 1938-1945
Peacock Richard Dick Dobson (1924-1984) Manor House 1951-1984
Platt, George (1851-1930) Thorngill 1892-1894
Ridley, William Robert O (1870-1958) Ashgill 1897-1905, Thorngill 1925-1930
Robson, Alan M Tupgill 1989-1990
Ross, William Ashgill 1907-1910
Russell, James Jim (1880-1961) Glasgow House 1943-1944
Scott, Nathan Horn (1856-1923) Tupgill 1906-1922
Skelton, Arthur (1879-1928) Warwick Lodge 1926-1928
Smith, Herbert Middleham Moor 1920-1921
Stubbs, Ralph William Bill Tupgill 1984-1988
Summers, S Middleham 1870-1871 for S Masterman
Swann, William Willie (1854-1923) Spigot Lodge 1898-1903
Thompson, William Castle Stables 1851
Thornton, Christopher William Spigot Lodge 1977-2000, Ashgill Yard Two 2000-2001, Dale House/Sharp Hill Farm 2001-2010
Thuytes Mr Pre Tupgill 1759
Vasey, Melton Avril (1906-1986) Ferngill 1952-1955, Tupgill 1952-1955, Kingsley House 1956-1972
Walter, Thomas Middleham Moor (Market Place) 1851
Walton, Mrs Kathleen Kate Sharp Hill 1992-2012
Ward, Jason Manor House (Dante yard) 2011-2018
Warrior, Ralph Middleham Moor 1842
Weatherell, William (1803-1881) Middleham Moor 1854-1857
West, Simon G Castle Stables 2009-present
Weymes, Ernest Ernie Tupgill 1958-1967, Ashgill 1968-2000
Weymes, John Robert Ashgill 2000-2019
Weymes, John Jack William (1898-1958) Tupgill 1951-1958
Wharton, Henry Harry (1937-1989) Manor House 1985-1989
Wharton, Mrs V R T Roxy Manor House 1989-1990
Wilkinson, Benjamin Edwin Jumbo (1932-2000) Ashgill 1967, Tupgill 1968-1983, Fell View 1984-1993
Winter, John Thomas Hampton (1838-1912) Middleham 1850-1877

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 Sold Out
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
Postage & Packaging    
Email order form to johnwslusar@gmail.com