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Earliest meeting: Wednesday 21st August 1839
Final meeting: Wednesday 8th September 1847
Topsham, on the River Exe, is now a suburb of Exeter in Devon, but back in the 19th century it was a town in its own right. It first staged a two day race meeting on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd August 1839 on a course a quarter of a mile from the town centre, opposite the Retreat, in a large corn field owned by Mr William Rookes which had been reaped in time. Unfortunately there was no grandstand, but this did not deter a large crowd from witnessing Mr Roach’s bay filly from winning the Silver Cup at the expense of Bluebell and Rosalind. The main race, the Topsham Stakes, was won by Mr Carlile’s Bluebell. Races continued to be staged annually and became known as the Topsham and Exeter meeting. At the two day meeting on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th September 1845 the Topsham Stakes went to Mr Draper’s Harold, defeating Gilgoir and Ellen Brown. The final meeting on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th September 1847 was held adjacent to the Blue Bell Inn.

This racecourse is covered in Volume 2 of Racecourses Here Today and Gone Tomorrow. Ordering details shown below.
Local Patrons Mr G Gale, Mr J C Jackson, Mr W Rookes, Mr T Southcott (Stewards)
Principal Races Topsham Stakes, Topsham Silver Cup

Thursday 22nd August 1839
Topsham Stakes
1. Bluebell, aged horse owned by Mr Carlile
2. Whalebone, aged horse owned by Mr Roach
3. Black Sam, aged horse owned by Mr Elliott
4. Tommy, aged horse owned by Mr Southcott

The final meeting took place on Wednesday 8th September 1847.
Course today On a course ¼ mile from town on fields owned by Mr William Rookes.
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.
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    
Volume 4 Ireland £9.99 + £3 postage    
Volumes 1 - 4 £54.96 + £5 postage    
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