Harry Rutherford's
Festival of Britain Mural

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Werneth Low Horse Races

Shortly after the coronation of Queen Victoria an attempt was made to establish an annual race meeting on Werneth Low, and a racecourse was formed in the field opposite the Hare & Hounds Inn on the summit of the Low. The first races being held on Hyde Wakes in 1838. The races extended over three days, and over 6000 people were present on the first day. Traditions and some of the older end of the population spoke of famous contests on the low of no less famous jockeys and the winning of local derbys. Mr Robert Higham gives an account of the races in his book "Stella" which is founded on local life.The "racecourse" says the writer "was situated in a field a short distance from the Hare & Hounds and was very unlevel for races, indeed dangerous, as more than one horse met with its death and the rider with serious injury in going down a steep decline. The horse which won the first race belonged to Marlors of Newton. The course was ringed with stalls, booths and rows of bookmakers with the usual paraphernalia for a race meeting. The prizes ranged from 30 guineas to 10 guineas and there were handsome cups to be won. The course was changed several times, and was fixed finally in the large field fringing the high road, and stretching down to Werneth Hall farm in Cowlishaw Brow.It was intended to make the races a permanent institution, but the great cash incurred and the comparatively small amount of public support, added to the difficulty of reaching the top of the low, either by "Shanks pony" or by conveyance, brought the scheme to an end after a few years. The last races run on the Low were on September 9th, 10th & 11th 1850. It was then decided to abandon the races.

  The Above account of the races is from Tom Middletons History of Hyde & The Annals of Hyde. Photobucket The 1875 OS map shows part of one of the race tracks just below the Hare & Hounds. Photobucket The race card for 1850 for what was then known as the Hyde & Compstall Races.


Dave Williams said...

I remember going on one of the walks from the Visitor Centre years ago during which Dave Cannon pointed out the line of this race track at the back of the Hare and Hounds.

Hydonian said...

Wouldn't it make a great day out now !