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Earliest meeting: September 1720
Final meeting: Thursday 10th May 1883
The earliest recorded racing in the Northumbrian town of Morpeth was in 1720. The racecourse was situated at Cottingwood, about a mile north of Morpeth, on the banks of the River Wansbeck, although racing certainly took place prior to 1720. The course was just over a mile in circumference and approached by a steep but narrow road. This would have meant that carriages would have found it difficult to access the course. Baily’s Racing Register first provided detailed results from races held at Morpeth in September 1729.  On Friday 29th September 1729 the Five Year Old Plate saw Mr Jenison’s Faustina beat a field of five, while the £30 Plate went to Whitefoot who defeated Seipo. It is known that the famous poet Lord Byron owned horses which ran at the track in the early and mid-1750s. A later 4 day meeting took place from Tuesday 17th to Friday 20th September 1782 when Lord Surrey won the Members Plate with his Papist colt, but had to settle for second in the Gentlemens’ Purse with Sheepstealer. Although after 1800 a large number of minor meetings were staged in Northumberland, the only meetings to be sufficiently important to be included in Sporting Magazines and Racing Calendars were Morpeth and Newcastle. Racing ceased at the Collingwood course in 1854, and it took a further 17 years to re-establish racing at Morpeth. The new course, just three quarters of a mile from the town centre, was on Morpeth Common and included a grandstand which was opened by Robert Wilkinson, the Mayor of Morpeth, on 10th September 1875. The final meeting took place on Thursday 10th May 1883 and later a lunatic asylum was built on part of the course.

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

Lord Surrey, Captain Wilkie, Captain Potts, Sir W Middleton

Principal Races Silver Cup, Members Plate

Friday 29th September 1729

Morpeth £20 Five Year Olds Plate
1. Faustina owned by Mr Jenison
The Bay mare beat a field of 5 others, although no further details were provided.

Morpeth £30 Plate
1. Whitefoot owned by Mr Bowes
2. Seipio owned by Sir W Middleton

Tuesday 17th to Friday 20th September 1782

Morpeth Gentlemens’ Purse over 2 miles
1. Duchess owned by Mr Burdon
2. Sheepstealer owned by Lord Surrey
3. Camomile owned by Mr Coulson

Morpeth Members Sweepstake over 4 miles
1. Unnamed colt by Papist owned by Lord Surrey
2. Unnamed filly owned by Mr Alcock
3. Careless owned by Mr John Hutton

Tuesday 31st August to Thursday 2nd September 1824

Morpeth Members Plate over 2 miles
1. German owned by Mr Lambton
2. North Briton owned by Mr Ferguson
3. Maid of the Mill owned by Mr Baillie

Morpeth Silver Cup over 2 miles 1 furlong
1. Royalist owned by Mr Lambton
2. Verona owned by Mr Lambton
3. Malham Tarne owned by Mr Ferguson

Wednesday 5th September 1838

Morpeth Borough Members Plate over a mile and a half
1. Nanny Banks owned by Mr Johnson
2. Bloodhound owned by Mr Jenkins
3. Sweetlips owned by Captain Potts

The final meeting took place on Thursday 10th May 1883 and later a lunatic asylum was built on part of the course.

Course today

Off Cottingwood Lane is Cottingwood Gardens, but there is little evidence of the previous existence of the one mile racecourse.

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

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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  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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