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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 13th August 1851
Final meeting: Friday 11th September 1874
The Kent town of Tonbridge, on the River Medway some 4 miles north of Tunbridge Wells, today caters for a population in excess of 30,000, but back in the mid 1850s it was much smaller than its near neighbour. However, when racing ceased at Tunbridge Wells in September 1851 it shifted just down the road to Tonbridge and was to remain there for 23 years. The inaugural meeting was held on Wednesday 13th August 1851 on a course next to Tonbridge Castle, close to the River Medway, opening with the Town Plate over a mile and a quarter which was won by Mr Drew’s Manilla. Later in the day the Ladies’ Cup went to Mr Drew’s Pussy, and the Hurdle race over 1 ¼ miles and four flights was won by Captain Rowley’s Spectator. The next year proved to be an exceptional meeting for Mr Reeves and his brown horse Abdallah, winning both the Town Plate and Ladies Cup. By the 1860s the meeting had extended to a second day, attracting crowds previously opting to attend Tunbridge Wells. The meeting on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th August 1865 drew good support to witness the Sevenoaks Stakes go to Mr Montague’s St Albans, the Tunbridge Handicap was won by Mr H Marsh’s Confederalist, and the Medway Stakes was won by Mr T Hughes’s Physician. The final meeting took place on Friday 11th September 1874.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Lord St Vincent, Major Withington, Major Jervis, Mr Hamerton
Principal Races Tunbridge Handicap, Sevenoakes Stakes, Mid-Kent Handicap Stakes

Wednesday 13th August 1851
Tunbridge Town Plate over 1 ¼ miles
1. Manilla, brown filly owned by Mr Drew
2. Eden, bay gelding owned by Mr B Land
3. Slane, bay gelding owned by Mr Sherrard

Tuesday 28th & Wednesday 29th August 1866

The Tunbridge Handicap over 1 ½ miles
1. Frogmore owned by Mr Hamerton
2. Maid of Erin owned by Mr R Eager
3. Kingmaker owned by Mr York

The Sevenoaks Stakes over 5 furlongs
1. Elburg owned by Mr J Nightingale
2. Isabella owned by Mr Marsh

The Mid-Kent Handicap Stakes over a mile
1. Maid of Erin owned by Mr R Eager
2. Pinchbeck owned by Mr G Newton
3. Puebla owned by Mr T Hughes

The final meeting took place on Friday 11th September 1874.
Course today On the 69 acres of open land next to Tonbridge Castle by the side of the River Medway.
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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  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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