Many people are surprised to hear that Nantwich had its own Racecourse – unless you’ve already been to Nantwich Museum and seen the painting of Mr Walsh’s Perdita, with jockey up, on Nantwich Racecourse:
which the museum managed to buy last year.
The first meeting was held in August 1729, and the final meeting took place on 6th June 1823. It was ploughed up in 1824.
The racecourse was situated on the Middlewich Road:
As you can see, it was situated near to what is now Alvaston Hall (although that building wasn’t there at the time of the racecourse):
Nantwich historian, James Hall, recalls a fascinating insight into the racecourse:
Nantwich has long been famous as a sporting-town; and the probability is that if the following contest, (the account of which is taken from an old newspaper) had been generally known beforehand, the event would have been quite sufficient to have brought labour almost to a standstill; as, indeed, a coursing day, a pigeon race, or a trotting match has done in times more recent.
1800 “On the 6th March a singular and well contested race was run over Beam Heath, near Nantwich, between Mr. Barrowcliff, who rode his Welsh horse, ” Punch,” twice round the race-course, two miles, and Mr. Yardley, who ran on foot, with his hands tied on his back once round the course. The race was won by Mr. Barrowcliff beating Mr. Yardley not more than four yards, and was performed in 5 min. and 56 seconds. Mr. Barrowcliff is six feet two inches high, and his horse is 17 years of age; and only 13 hands one inch in height.”
You’ll be able to learn more about Nantwich Racecourse this summer, when Nantwich Museum has an exhibition and series of talks on Nantwich at Play.