To the Regency Races!

Newbury Races Nicola here. I live near a racing village and today I’m reflecting on the pleasures of race going in the Georgian and Regency periods in my local area. I’ve been researching this not for a book I’m writing but for a talk I gave yesterday for the National Trust on gambling in the early 19th century.  In 1836 one member of the Craven family of Ashdown House bet 8000 pounds (about the equivalent of 400 000 pounds or 625 000 dollars in modern terms) against the favourite, Bay Middleton, in the Derby race. He lost. All that money lost on one horse in one race…

 

Arriving in Style

 

First you had to get to your racecourse, and a spectator’s means of transport, mode of arrival and Post chaise accommodation was defined by his class. The nobility and gentry, naturally, had their own carriages whilst families slightly lower down the social scale would arrive at the racecourse in a hired post-chaise which could travel at up to eight miles per hour and cost between sixpence and one shilling per mile.

 

The vast majority of spectators, however, arrived at a racecourse on foot and thought nothing of walking up to 15 miles to get there. The cheapest carriage that offered a public service was the covered wagon. The horse was led by a wagonner on foot and the vehicle travelled at walking pace. There are plenty of records of racing crowds travelling to the races at Newbury and Reading by stagecoach as well. These were drawn by four horses, carried six people inside and up to eleven clinging to the outside and in the late 18th century they charged fourpence per mile for the inside passengers and twopence for the outside ones. At seven to ten miles an hour travel by stage could be both dangerous and nausea-inducing, particularly at night on the downhill sections of the road.

 

The diligence was smaller and more comfortable than the stagecoach, carrying only four passengers inside and drawn by two horses. This also operated to a public timetable. Prices depended on whether it was a two wheeled variety or the more superior four wheeled one. 

 

Kennet and Avon canal The other alternative for some racecourses, depending on situation, was to arrive by water. Many rivers were navigable in the period. The Oxford races were served by the river Thames and with the opening of the canal system from the late 18th century onwards race-goers might have the option of a public boat service.  From 1810 the Kennet and Avon Canal ran a twice-weekly passenger barge which had priority over the slower goods barges.

 

There was no charge for entry to the racecourse for those who arrived either on foot or on horseback but carriages paid for the privilege of parking where there was a good view of the track. By 1800 most courses had grandstands where for the sum of five shillings the middle classes, and ladies in particular, could buy a comfortable view of the course away from the common crowds. The other benefit of the grandstand was that it was covered, which gave some protection against the weather, either stifling heat or a downpour of rain.  In her letters Jane Austen mentions the Basingstoke Races of 1813 as being a complete washout and at Abingdon in 1828 the fashionable ladies were drenched (presumably they had not bought grandstand seats) and the horses were apparently running knee deep in water.

 

Coaching inns in towns such as Marlborough, Newbury and Reading did extremely well for custom Coaching Inn Newbury during race weeks when they were usually full to overflowing. The other alternative for accommodation was to rent a house in the town for the period of the race meeting and some enterprising homeowners would either let their entire house or would rent out individual rooms. The inns offered special fixed price meals for race-goers during the period, rather like booking in for dinner, bed and breakfast these days. Usually the gentlemen and the ladies ate separately, though in 1829 the Star Inn at Oxford introduced mixed tables which must have caused quite a stir!

 

The Bet

 

Manchester racecourse The Georgian age was characterised by excessive gambling by the upper classes on just about anything that moved and some things that didn’t: horse races, beetle races, raindrop races, cards, cockfights, prize-fights, billiards and pedestrianism were a few of the events or sports that could be bet upon. Gentlemanly wagers at the races were initially conducted on a credit basis, one to one, off the course but in response to the demand for some fixed premises for these deals, Richard Tattersall, a horse auctioneer, set up the first betting shop at Hyde Park Corner in 1815. The entry conditions for Tattersalls were both financially and socially stringent, demanding as good a breeding in the customer as in the horse, as well as financial liquidity. Nor was gambling on the horses confined to men. A poem by Lord Abingdon called Adieu to the Turf makes reference to creditors circling Lady Bampfylde who was a racehorse owner and prominent patron and gambler.

 

Further down society, wealthy farmers were showing an interest in field sports and gambling. They would think nothing of losing £40 a day (several thousand pounds in today’s terms) at one race meeting. And amongst the working classes a day at the races was also popular. In 1784 La Rochefoucauld commented that: “a great number of people economise all through the year for the pleasure of risking the product of a year’s privation on one five-minute fling.”

 

In the beginning, racing wagers were unwritten and were settled the following day at the local coffee house. However by 1805 betting stands had become a feature of most racecourses with bookmakers called blacklegs. These were generally men from humble origins whose name derived from the top boots they wore because they could not afford stockings. Many were men of their word when it came to settling betting winnings but it was not unknown for a blackleg to decamp from the course without paying out to his customers.

 

It took some time for race results to become known as there was no mass communication.  Mail coach Beagle drivers were crucial in spreading the word of the results of important meetings. For really vital results carrier pigeons and even trail-trained hounds might be used to carry the news to interested parties in the surrounding coutryside. I love the idea of a beagle arriving at your door with the racing results attached to it's collar!

 

Other Entertainments

 

This was of course the age of both national and private lotteries so the opportunities for betting were not confined to the horses. One racecourse ran raffles during race week with valuable prizes such as a “high bred bay mare” one year and a four wheeled post chaise another. There were plenty of other ways to lose your money at the racecourse as well, including gambling sideshows such as the game of pitch and toss for money. Between 1805 and 1815 the town of Newbury in Berkshire banned EO betting (the precursor to roulette) in the town in race week so that gamblers were tempted to spend more on the racecourse. Billiards matches tended to follow the racing calendar as well and heavy bets were placed on the outcome of these.

 

Bartholomew Fair 1808 On the course itself, vendors of beer and food could rent a pitch for their booth. There were shooting galleries, musical entertainments, acrobats, high wire dancers, fire-eaters, performing dogs and gypsy fortune tellers. Crime was rife on the racecourse with some booths taken by confidence tricksters intent on taking money off naïve victims. Pickpockets mingled with the crowds, as did prostitutes soliciting for business.

 

Cockfights and prize-fights also took place during race weeks and were popular across the social spectrum. Cockfighting was considered a gentleman’s sport but fell into disrepute by the 1820s. Prize-fighting was technically illegal after 1750 but the ban was widely ignored and after the 1809 Abingdon Races finished a crowd of thousands gathered to watch a 50 round fight which lasted almost two hours.

More salubrious were race week balls. These were held in the local assembly rooms and were priced at five shillings for the ladies and seven and sixpence for the gentlemen, very much an event for the gentry and aristocracy. The Newbury Mansion House Ball of 1805 was described as attracting guests of “the first fashion and distinction.” 

 

Theatres also ran special race week programmes with different plays each night and actors and Bath Theatre actresses from London.  At Newbury’s Pelican Theatre the boxes cost three shillings, the seats in the pit two shillings and the gallery one shilling. Henry Thornton’s acting company toured the race towns frequently with a cast that included Dorothy Jordan, the Duke of Clarence's former mistress. Attendance at race balls and theatre performances meant that the ladies required the specialised of services of hairdressers and perfumiers brought in from London. Provincial hairdressers were not considered skilled enough to meet the requirements of their aristocratic clientele!

 

The Newbury Coat

 

One extraordinary wager that I came across when I was reading about gambling and racing was the story of the Newbury Coat.  Newbury was a very famous racing town and the populace of the period well accustomed to gambling. Mr John Coxeter, a cloth manufacturer in Newbury, commented to Sir John Throckmorton that he could take the coat from Sir John’s back, reduce it to wool and turn it back into a coat again all in the space of a day. Sir John was so taken with this idea that he laid a bet of 1000 guineas that at eight o'clock in the evening of June the 25th 1811 he would sit down to dinner in a well-woven, properly-made coat, the wool of which had still been on the sheep’s backs at five o'clock that same morning. (Presumably he didn't want to sacrifice the existing coat and fancied a new one!)

 

Newbury Coat Thousands of people turned out to watch the bet take place; there was even a refreshment tent provided. The sheep were shorn, the wool was washed, stubbed, rove, carded, spun and woven. The tailor had already taken Sir John’s measurements and was ready to leap into action. Ten men worked at

cutting out, stitching, pressing, and sewing on buttons and at twenty minutes past six that evening Mr. Coxeter presented the coat to Sir John Throckmorton, who put the garment on before a crowd of over five thousand people. Sir John took dinner with forty gentlemen at eight o'clock in the evening wearing the coat, which was a large hunting coat in the admired dark Wellington colour, a sort of a damson tint. It had been completed in the space of thirteen hours and ten minutes. The wager had been won with an Whisper of Scandal - US hour and three quarters to spare.

 

If you attended the Georgian races would you be in the grandstand or prefer to mingle with the crowd? Would you enjoy the races or the fortune-teller’s tent or would gambling simply not be for you? I’m giving away an ARC of my new book Whisper of Scandal, which does not feature racing at all, to one person who leaves a comment between now and Sunday morning!

180 thoughts on “To the Regency Races!”

  1. Nicola, this is fabulous. I did a lot of research on the races for my “Devil Riders” books, because a couple of my heroes were breeding and training racehorses and I wanted to set some scenes at the races, but as is often the way with research-in-advance, the story didn’t go the way I’d planned it and I never used my info.

    Reply
  2. Nicola, this is fabulous. I did a lot of research on the races for my “Devil Riders” books, because a couple of my heroes were breeding and training racehorses and I wanted to set some scenes at the races, but as is often the way with research-in-advance, the story didn’t go the way I’d planned it and I never used my info.

    Reply
  3. Nicola, this is fabulous. I did a lot of research on the races for my “Devil Riders” books, because a couple of my heroes were breeding and training racehorses and I wanted to set some scenes at the races, but as is often the way with research-in-advance, the story didn’t go the way I’d planned it and I never used my info.

    Reply
  4. Nicola, this is fabulous. I did a lot of research on the races for my “Devil Riders” books, because a couple of my heroes were breeding and training racehorses and I wanted to set some scenes at the races, but as is often the way with research-in-advance, the story didn’t go the way I’d planned it and I never used my info.

    Reply
  5. Nicola, this is fabulous. I did a lot of research on the races for my “Devil Riders” books, because a couple of my heroes were breeding and training racehorses and I wanted to set some scenes at the races, but as is often the way with research-in-advance, the story didn’t go the way I’d planned it and I never used my info.

    Reply
  6. Hi Nicola, fascinating article, I loved it.My late father in law bred thoroughbred horses during the WWI period – each worth £8000 guineas. They weren’t racehorses but he had an insatiable gambling habit which eventually led to the loss of the family’s landholdings.
    Having seen the subsequent effects, then I would certainly prefer to watch a race rather than participate in the betting. Thanks for entertaining us with a fact filled glimpse of Regency life.

    Reply
  7. Hi Nicola, fascinating article, I loved it.My late father in law bred thoroughbred horses during the WWI period – each worth £8000 guineas. They weren’t racehorses but he had an insatiable gambling habit which eventually led to the loss of the family’s landholdings.
    Having seen the subsequent effects, then I would certainly prefer to watch a race rather than participate in the betting. Thanks for entertaining us with a fact filled glimpse of Regency life.

    Reply
  8. Hi Nicola, fascinating article, I loved it.My late father in law bred thoroughbred horses during the WWI period – each worth £8000 guineas. They weren’t racehorses but he had an insatiable gambling habit which eventually led to the loss of the family’s landholdings.
    Having seen the subsequent effects, then I would certainly prefer to watch a race rather than participate in the betting. Thanks for entertaining us with a fact filled glimpse of Regency life.

    Reply
  9. Hi Nicola, fascinating article, I loved it.My late father in law bred thoroughbred horses during the WWI period – each worth £8000 guineas. They weren’t racehorses but he had an insatiable gambling habit which eventually led to the loss of the family’s landholdings.
    Having seen the subsequent effects, then I would certainly prefer to watch a race rather than participate in the betting. Thanks for entertaining us with a fact filled glimpse of Regency life.

    Reply
  10. Hi Nicola, fascinating article, I loved it.My late father in law bred thoroughbred horses during the WWI period – each worth £8000 guineas. They weren’t racehorses but he had an insatiable gambling habit which eventually led to the loss of the family’s landholdings.
    Having seen the subsequent effects, then I would certainly prefer to watch a race rather than participate in the betting. Thanks for entertaining us with a fact filled glimpse of Regency life.

    Reply
  11. Nicola, this is such a fascinating post. I particularly loved the story of the Newbury Coat.
    A day at the Georgian races for me would involve people watching rather than gambling – my ability to spot a loser at the races is the stuff of legend in my family and I don’t suppose rolling back the centuries would make any difference to my inability to spot good horseflesh.
    Can’t wait to read Whisper of Scandal.

    Reply
  12. Nicola, this is such a fascinating post. I particularly loved the story of the Newbury Coat.
    A day at the Georgian races for me would involve people watching rather than gambling – my ability to spot a loser at the races is the stuff of legend in my family and I don’t suppose rolling back the centuries would make any difference to my inability to spot good horseflesh.
    Can’t wait to read Whisper of Scandal.

    Reply
  13. Nicola, this is such a fascinating post. I particularly loved the story of the Newbury Coat.
    A day at the Georgian races for me would involve people watching rather than gambling – my ability to spot a loser at the races is the stuff of legend in my family and I don’t suppose rolling back the centuries would make any difference to my inability to spot good horseflesh.
    Can’t wait to read Whisper of Scandal.

    Reply
  14. Nicola, this is such a fascinating post. I particularly loved the story of the Newbury Coat.
    A day at the Georgian races for me would involve people watching rather than gambling – my ability to spot a loser at the races is the stuff of legend in my family and I don’t suppose rolling back the centuries would make any difference to my inability to spot good horseflesh.
    Can’t wait to read Whisper of Scandal.

    Reply
  15. Nicola, this is such a fascinating post. I particularly loved the story of the Newbury Coat.
    A day at the Georgian races for me would involve people watching rather than gambling – my ability to spot a loser at the races is the stuff of legend in my family and I don’t suppose rolling back the centuries would make any difference to my inability to spot good horseflesh.
    Can’t wait to read Whisper of Scandal.

    Reply
  16. Fascinating post, thank you.
    Being inclined to like my comfort, I suspect I would prefer the grandstand out of the rain, but I don’t think I’d be able to resist laying a wager.

    Reply
  17. Fascinating post, thank you.
    Being inclined to like my comfort, I suspect I would prefer the grandstand out of the rain, but I don’t think I’d be able to resist laying a wager.

    Reply
  18. Fascinating post, thank you.
    Being inclined to like my comfort, I suspect I would prefer the grandstand out of the rain, but I don’t think I’d be able to resist laying a wager.

    Reply
  19. Fascinating post, thank you.
    Being inclined to like my comfort, I suspect I would prefer the grandstand out of the rain, but I don’t think I’d be able to resist laying a wager.

    Reply
  20. Fascinating post, thank you.
    Being inclined to like my comfort, I suspect I would prefer the grandstand out of the rain, but I don’t think I’d be able to resist laying a wager.

    Reply
  21. Thank you, Anne! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I do hope you get the chance to use all that research you did because I would love to read a book of yours with a horseracing and breeding background.
    It was all the little details that fascinated me. I knew that carrier pigeons were used to send out lottery results, for example, because I had researched that for The Earl’s Prize, but I loved the idea of sending a tracker dog! And the thought of aristocratic ladies turning their noses up at provincial hairdressers made me smile.

    Reply
  22. Thank you, Anne! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I do hope you get the chance to use all that research you did because I would love to read a book of yours with a horseracing and breeding background.
    It was all the little details that fascinated me. I knew that carrier pigeons were used to send out lottery results, for example, because I had researched that for The Earl’s Prize, but I loved the idea of sending a tracker dog! And the thought of aristocratic ladies turning their noses up at provincial hairdressers made me smile.

    Reply
  23. Thank you, Anne! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I do hope you get the chance to use all that research you did because I would love to read a book of yours with a horseracing and breeding background.
    It was all the little details that fascinated me. I knew that carrier pigeons were used to send out lottery results, for example, because I had researched that for The Earl’s Prize, but I loved the idea of sending a tracker dog! And the thought of aristocratic ladies turning their noses up at provincial hairdressers made me smile.

    Reply
  24. Thank you, Anne! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I do hope you get the chance to use all that research you did because I would love to read a book of yours with a horseracing and breeding background.
    It was all the little details that fascinated me. I knew that carrier pigeons were used to send out lottery results, for example, because I had researched that for The Earl’s Prize, but I loved the idea of sending a tracker dog! And the thought of aristocratic ladies turning their noses up at provincial hairdressers made me smile.

    Reply
  25. Thank you, Anne! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I do hope you get the chance to use all that research you did because I would love to read a book of yours with a horseracing and breeding background.
    It was all the little details that fascinated me. I knew that carrier pigeons were used to send out lottery results, for example, because I had researched that for The Earl’s Prize, but I loved the idea of sending a tracker dog! And the thought of aristocratic ladies turning their noses up at provincial hairdressers made me smile.

    Reply
  26. Thank you, Sarah S. I think a gambling habit must be incredibly destructive, as your family experience shows. I imagine it’s one that would put you off betting forever.
    Around here we often see very highly-bred racehorses. They are beautiful but also extremely skittish!

    Reply
  27. Thank you, Sarah S. I think a gambling habit must be incredibly destructive, as your family experience shows. I imagine it’s one that would put you off betting forever.
    Around here we often see very highly-bred racehorses. They are beautiful but also extremely skittish!

    Reply
  28. Thank you, Sarah S. I think a gambling habit must be incredibly destructive, as your family experience shows. I imagine it’s one that would put you off betting forever.
    Around here we often see very highly-bred racehorses. They are beautiful but also extremely skittish!

    Reply
  29. Thank you, Sarah S. I think a gambling habit must be incredibly destructive, as your family experience shows. I imagine it’s one that would put you off betting forever.
    Around here we often see very highly-bred racehorses. They are beautiful but also extremely skittish!

    Reply
  30. Thank you, Sarah S. I think a gambling habit must be incredibly destructive, as your family experience shows. I imagine it’s one that would put you off betting forever.
    Around here we often see very highly-bred racehorses. They are beautiful but also extremely skittish!

    Reply
  31. Hi Sarah, thank you for dropping in! I would imagine the racecourse would be a superb place for people-watching. All those gamblers and card sharks and aristocrats and prize-fighters. The descriptions I read made the experience very vivid to me. LOL about your legendary ability to spot a loser. I am not lucky in games of chance but my m-i-l made a fortune last time we went to Bath races!

    Reply
  32. Hi Sarah, thank you for dropping in! I would imagine the racecourse would be a superb place for people-watching. All those gamblers and card sharks and aristocrats and prize-fighters. The descriptions I read made the experience very vivid to me. LOL about your legendary ability to spot a loser. I am not lucky in games of chance but my m-i-l made a fortune last time we went to Bath races!

    Reply
  33. Hi Sarah, thank you for dropping in! I would imagine the racecourse would be a superb place for people-watching. All those gamblers and card sharks and aristocrats and prize-fighters. The descriptions I read made the experience very vivid to me. LOL about your legendary ability to spot a loser. I am not lucky in games of chance but my m-i-l made a fortune last time we went to Bath races!

    Reply
  34. Hi Sarah, thank you for dropping in! I would imagine the racecourse would be a superb place for people-watching. All those gamblers and card sharks and aristocrats and prize-fighters. The descriptions I read made the experience very vivid to me. LOL about your legendary ability to spot a loser. I am not lucky in games of chance but my m-i-l made a fortune last time we went to Bath races!

    Reply
  35. Hi Sarah, thank you for dropping in! I would imagine the racecourse would be a superb place for people-watching. All those gamblers and card sharks and aristocrats and prize-fighters. The descriptions I read made the experience very vivid to me. LOL about your legendary ability to spot a loser. I am not lucky in games of chance but my m-i-l made a fortune last time we went to Bath races!

    Reply
  36. Jane, I like my comfort too. I’d definitely be in the grandstand. After I had read about people sitting in open carriages in the blazing sun and getting soaked in the rain I wasn’t at all keen on being in my own carriage! Then I read that sometimes the grandstands collapsed, which was also very offputting!

    Reply
  37. Jane, I like my comfort too. I’d definitely be in the grandstand. After I had read about people sitting in open carriages in the blazing sun and getting soaked in the rain I wasn’t at all keen on being in my own carriage! Then I read that sometimes the grandstands collapsed, which was also very offputting!

    Reply
  38. Jane, I like my comfort too. I’d definitely be in the grandstand. After I had read about people sitting in open carriages in the blazing sun and getting soaked in the rain I wasn’t at all keen on being in my own carriage! Then I read that sometimes the grandstands collapsed, which was also very offputting!

    Reply
  39. Jane, I like my comfort too. I’d definitely be in the grandstand. After I had read about people sitting in open carriages in the blazing sun and getting soaked in the rain I wasn’t at all keen on being in my own carriage! Then I read that sometimes the grandstands collapsed, which was also very offputting!

    Reply
  40. Jane, I like my comfort too. I’d definitely be in the grandstand. After I had read about people sitting in open carriages in the blazing sun and getting soaked in the rain I wasn’t at all keen on being in my own carriage! Then I read that sometimes the grandstands collapsed, which was also very offputting!

    Reply
  41. What wonderful information, Nicola! This is going straight into my research file. Dick Francis racing novels sometime touched down in your area, and it’s lovely to see how deep the racing roots are.
    I’m so relentless Yankee and frugal that the mere thought of that kind of gambling bet makes me want to swoon onto my fainting couch. I think I’d just stick to admiring the pretty horsies. *G*

    Reply
  42. What wonderful information, Nicola! This is going straight into my research file. Dick Francis racing novels sometime touched down in your area, and it’s lovely to see how deep the racing roots are.
    I’m so relentless Yankee and frugal that the mere thought of that kind of gambling bet makes me want to swoon onto my fainting couch. I think I’d just stick to admiring the pretty horsies. *G*

    Reply
  43. What wonderful information, Nicola! This is going straight into my research file. Dick Francis racing novels sometime touched down in your area, and it’s lovely to see how deep the racing roots are.
    I’m so relentless Yankee and frugal that the mere thought of that kind of gambling bet makes me want to swoon onto my fainting couch. I think I’d just stick to admiring the pretty horsies. *G*

    Reply
  44. What wonderful information, Nicola! This is going straight into my research file. Dick Francis racing novels sometime touched down in your area, and it’s lovely to see how deep the racing roots are.
    I’m so relentless Yankee and frugal that the mere thought of that kind of gambling bet makes me want to swoon onto my fainting couch. I think I’d just stick to admiring the pretty horsies. *G*

    Reply
  45. What wonderful information, Nicola! This is going straight into my research file. Dick Francis racing novels sometime touched down in your area, and it’s lovely to see how deep the racing roots are.
    I’m so relentless Yankee and frugal that the mere thought of that kind of gambling bet makes me want to swoon onto my fainting couch. I think I’d just stick to admiring the pretty horsies. *G*

    Reply
  46. Hi, Nicola, love the article! I think I would like to be in the grandstand where I could see all of the action because I’m more of a people watcher than a mingler. I really like watching the races, but I’m not much of a gambler.
    Margay

    Reply
  47. Hi, Nicola, love the article! I think I would like to be in the grandstand where I could see all of the action because I’m more of a people watcher than a mingler. I really like watching the races, but I’m not much of a gambler.
    Margay

    Reply
  48. Hi, Nicola, love the article! I think I would like to be in the grandstand where I could see all of the action because I’m more of a people watcher than a mingler. I really like watching the races, but I’m not much of a gambler.
    Margay

    Reply
  49. Hi, Nicola, love the article! I think I would like to be in the grandstand where I could see all of the action because I’m more of a people watcher than a mingler. I really like watching the races, but I’m not much of a gambler.
    Margay

    Reply
  50. Hi, Nicola, love the article! I think I would like to be in the grandstand where I could see all of the action because I’m more of a people watcher than a mingler. I really like watching the races, but I’m not much of a gambler.
    Margay

    Reply
  51. LOL, Mary Jo! I have something of that frugality in my soul too and find that sort of extravagance is quite shocking. When I read that the Regency Earl of Craven left his estates mortgaged to the tune of two million pounds I was reaching for the smelling salts.
    Yes, one of the Dick Francis books I read recently was set in Lambourn, just down the road from here. It had a runaway horse getting on to the road at the beginning of the story and every time I drive through there now I am even more careful than usual!

    Reply
  52. LOL, Mary Jo! I have something of that frugality in my soul too and find that sort of extravagance is quite shocking. When I read that the Regency Earl of Craven left his estates mortgaged to the tune of two million pounds I was reaching for the smelling salts.
    Yes, one of the Dick Francis books I read recently was set in Lambourn, just down the road from here. It had a runaway horse getting on to the road at the beginning of the story and every time I drive through there now I am even more careful than usual!

    Reply
  53. LOL, Mary Jo! I have something of that frugality in my soul too and find that sort of extravagance is quite shocking. When I read that the Regency Earl of Craven left his estates mortgaged to the tune of two million pounds I was reaching for the smelling salts.
    Yes, one of the Dick Francis books I read recently was set in Lambourn, just down the road from here. It had a runaway horse getting on to the road at the beginning of the story and every time I drive through there now I am even more careful than usual!

    Reply
  54. LOL, Mary Jo! I have something of that frugality in my soul too and find that sort of extravagance is quite shocking. When I read that the Regency Earl of Craven left his estates mortgaged to the tune of two million pounds I was reaching for the smelling salts.
    Yes, one of the Dick Francis books I read recently was set in Lambourn, just down the road from here. It had a runaway horse getting on to the road at the beginning of the story and every time I drive through there now I am even more careful than usual!

    Reply
  55. LOL, Mary Jo! I have something of that frugality in my soul too and find that sort of extravagance is quite shocking. When I read that the Regency Earl of Craven left his estates mortgaged to the tune of two million pounds I was reaching for the smelling salts.
    Yes, one of the Dick Francis books I read recently was set in Lambourn, just down the road from here. It had a runaway horse getting on to the road at the beginning of the story and every time I drive through there now I am even more careful than usual!

    Reply
  56. I’d be sitting in the grandstand with a nice view to cheer for the horse I bet on — nothing grandious just enough for the fun of the bet 🙂

    Reply
  57. I’d be sitting in the grandstand with a nice view to cheer for the horse I bet on — nothing grandious just enough for the fun of the bet 🙂

    Reply
  58. I’d be sitting in the grandstand with a nice view to cheer for the horse I bet on — nothing grandious just enough for the fun of the bet 🙂

    Reply
  59. I’d be sitting in the grandstand with a nice view to cheer for the horse I bet on — nothing grandious just enough for the fun of the bet 🙂

    Reply
  60. I’d be sitting in the grandstand with a nice view to cheer for the horse I bet on — nothing grandious just enough for the fun of the bet 🙂

    Reply
  61. I’d have to watch – Not only am I completely gambling averse, but I live near Palm Beach and the elite racing world holds not thrill for me.
    This post, however, was fascinating.

    Reply
  62. I’d have to watch – Not only am I completely gambling averse, but I live near Palm Beach and the elite racing world holds not thrill for me.
    This post, however, was fascinating.

    Reply
  63. I’d have to watch – Not only am I completely gambling averse, but I live near Palm Beach and the elite racing world holds not thrill for me.
    This post, however, was fascinating.

    Reply
  64. I’d have to watch – Not only am I completely gambling averse, but I live near Palm Beach and the elite racing world holds not thrill for me.
    This post, however, was fascinating.

    Reply
  65. I’d have to watch – Not only am I completely gambling averse, but I live near Palm Beach and the elite racing world holds not thrill for me.
    This post, however, was fascinating.

    Reply
  66. Marvelous post. I found it interesting.
    Personally, I would like to mingle with the crowds and get the flavor and probable smells of horse racing.

    Reply
  67. Marvelous post. I found it interesting.
    Personally, I would like to mingle with the crowds and get the flavor and probable smells of horse racing.

    Reply
  68. Marvelous post. I found it interesting.
    Personally, I would like to mingle with the crowds and get the flavor and probable smells of horse racing.

    Reply
  69. Marvelous post. I found it interesting.
    Personally, I would like to mingle with the crowds and get the flavor and probable smells of horse racing.

    Reply
  70. Marvelous post. I found it interesting.
    Personally, I would like to mingle with the crowds and get the flavor and probable smells of horse racing.

    Reply
  71. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Meoskop. Thank you!
    Louis, I like the idea of getting the scent of the racecourse. One of the things that made the research so vivid for me was the descriptions of all the food and drink as well as the crowds and the horses – plenty of smells mingling in there, I would think!

    Reply
  72. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Meoskop. Thank you!
    Louis, I like the idea of getting the scent of the racecourse. One of the things that made the research so vivid for me was the descriptions of all the food and drink as well as the crowds and the horses – plenty of smells mingling in there, I would think!

    Reply
  73. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Meoskop. Thank you!
    Louis, I like the idea of getting the scent of the racecourse. One of the things that made the research so vivid for me was the descriptions of all the food and drink as well as the crowds and the horses – plenty of smells mingling in there, I would think!

    Reply
  74. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Meoskop. Thank you!
    Louis, I like the idea of getting the scent of the racecourse. One of the things that made the research so vivid for me was the descriptions of all the food and drink as well as the crowds and the horses – plenty of smells mingling in there, I would think!

    Reply
  75. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Meoskop. Thank you!
    Louis, I like the idea of getting the scent of the racecourse. One of the things that made the research so vivid for me was the descriptions of all the food and drink as well as the crowds and the horses – plenty of smells mingling in there, I would think!

    Reply
  76. Wow! I agree, this post is going into my research files. It always amazes me to see that kind of information, all together like that rather than my having to scour book after book. So thank you!
    Um…but I have a question…what’s pedestrianism?

    Reply
  77. Wow! I agree, this post is going into my research files. It always amazes me to see that kind of information, all together like that rather than my having to scour book after book. So thank you!
    Um…but I have a question…what’s pedestrianism?

    Reply
  78. Wow! I agree, this post is going into my research files. It always amazes me to see that kind of information, all together like that rather than my having to scour book after book. So thank you!
    Um…but I have a question…what’s pedestrianism?

    Reply
  79. Wow! I agree, this post is going into my research files. It always amazes me to see that kind of information, all together like that rather than my having to scour book after book. So thank you!
    Um…but I have a question…what’s pedestrianism?

    Reply
  80. Wow! I agree, this post is going into my research files. It always amazes me to see that kind of information, all together like that rather than my having to scour book after book. So thank you!
    Um…but I have a question…what’s pedestrianism?

    Reply
  81. I think I’d prefer the grandstand to mingling. It would be fun the watch the races, then visit the fortuneteller — though if you visited her first, maybe she’d offer a prediction on the races?
    Thanks for the interesting post, Nicola!

    Reply
  82. I think I’d prefer the grandstand to mingling. It would be fun the watch the races, then visit the fortuneteller — though if you visited her first, maybe she’d offer a prediction on the races?
    Thanks for the interesting post, Nicola!

    Reply
  83. I think I’d prefer the grandstand to mingling. It would be fun the watch the races, then visit the fortuneteller — though if you visited her first, maybe she’d offer a prediction on the races?
    Thanks for the interesting post, Nicola!

    Reply
  84. I think I’d prefer the grandstand to mingling. It would be fun the watch the races, then visit the fortuneteller — though if you visited her first, maybe she’d offer a prediction on the races?
    Thanks for the interesting post, Nicola!

    Reply
  85. I think I’d prefer the grandstand to mingling. It would be fun the watch the races, then visit the fortuneteller — though if you visited her first, maybe she’d offer a prediction on the races?
    Thanks for the interesting post, Nicola!

    Reply
  86. Nicola,
    Great post, thanks,
    And I’d have to be mingling in the crowds as I’m a terrible sticky beak and would love to be listenting to all the fascinating tid bits of gossip and gathering racing best bets etc.
    Suzi

    Reply
  87. Nicola,
    Great post, thanks,
    And I’d have to be mingling in the crowds as I’m a terrible sticky beak and would love to be listenting to all the fascinating tid bits of gossip and gathering racing best bets etc.
    Suzi

    Reply
  88. Nicola,
    Great post, thanks,
    And I’d have to be mingling in the crowds as I’m a terrible sticky beak and would love to be listenting to all the fascinating tid bits of gossip and gathering racing best bets etc.
    Suzi

    Reply
  89. Nicola,
    Great post, thanks,
    And I’d have to be mingling in the crowds as I’m a terrible sticky beak and would love to be listenting to all the fascinating tid bits of gossip and gathering racing best bets etc.
    Suzi

    Reply
  90. Nicola,
    Great post, thanks,
    And I’d have to be mingling in the crowds as I’m a terrible sticky beak and would love to be listenting to all the fascinating tid bits of gossip and gathering racing best bets etc.
    Suzi

    Reply
  91. Hi Nicola, I would like to sit in the grandstand to watch the races. I quite enjoy watching the horses race. I was looking at some of the amounts that were bet in Georgian times, and even today I wouldn’t bet anywhere near that much. Only as much as I could afford to lose. As my husband says ‘never bet on anything that eats’.

    Reply
  92. Hi Nicola, I would like to sit in the grandstand to watch the races. I quite enjoy watching the horses race. I was looking at some of the amounts that were bet in Georgian times, and even today I wouldn’t bet anywhere near that much. Only as much as I could afford to lose. As my husband says ‘never bet on anything that eats’.

    Reply
  93. Hi Nicola, I would like to sit in the grandstand to watch the races. I quite enjoy watching the horses race. I was looking at some of the amounts that were bet in Georgian times, and even today I wouldn’t bet anywhere near that much. Only as much as I could afford to lose. As my husband says ‘never bet on anything that eats’.

    Reply
  94. Hi Nicola, I would like to sit in the grandstand to watch the races. I quite enjoy watching the horses race. I was looking at some of the amounts that were bet in Georgian times, and even today I wouldn’t bet anywhere near that much. Only as much as I could afford to lose. As my husband says ‘never bet on anything that eats’.

    Reply
  95. Hi Nicola, I would like to sit in the grandstand to watch the races. I quite enjoy watching the horses race. I was looking at some of the amounts that were bet in Georgian times, and even today I wouldn’t bet anywhere near that much. Only as much as I could afford to lose. As my husband says ‘never bet on anything that eats’.

    Reply
  96. The last person I saw visit a fortune teller was Donna Noble, and she wound up with a huge bug on her back, so I would pass on that, thanks.
    I think I’d be touring the stables, checking out the horses and the help, and picking up some horse lore or playing with the stable cats. I like horses; they’re nice people.

    Reply
  97. The last person I saw visit a fortune teller was Donna Noble, and she wound up with a huge bug on her back, so I would pass on that, thanks.
    I think I’d be touring the stables, checking out the horses and the help, and picking up some horse lore or playing with the stable cats. I like horses; they’re nice people.

    Reply
  98. The last person I saw visit a fortune teller was Donna Noble, and she wound up with a huge bug on her back, so I would pass on that, thanks.
    I think I’d be touring the stables, checking out the horses and the help, and picking up some horse lore or playing with the stable cats. I like horses; they’re nice people.

    Reply
  99. The last person I saw visit a fortune teller was Donna Noble, and she wound up with a huge bug on her back, so I would pass on that, thanks.
    I think I’d be touring the stables, checking out the horses and the help, and picking up some horse lore or playing with the stable cats. I like horses; they’re nice people.

    Reply
  100. The last person I saw visit a fortune teller was Donna Noble, and she wound up with a huge bug on her back, so I would pass on that, thanks.
    I think I’d be touring the stables, checking out the horses and the help, and picking up some horse lore or playing with the stable cats. I like horses; they’re nice people.

    Reply
  101. Glad you liked the post, Theo. Pedestrianism was basically competitive walking, and it was very big in Georgian times. I believe it grew out of the habit of aristocrats betting on which of their footmen could win walking races at carriage pace. People would lay bets on the pedestrians just like they would on the horses and pedestrians would undertake to do things like walk 100 miles in 24 hours. I only came across this a few years ago and was totally intrigued. Perhaps I should blog about it next time!

    Reply
  102. Glad you liked the post, Theo. Pedestrianism was basically competitive walking, and it was very big in Georgian times. I believe it grew out of the habit of aristocrats betting on which of their footmen could win walking races at carriage pace. People would lay bets on the pedestrians just like they would on the horses and pedestrians would undertake to do things like walk 100 miles in 24 hours. I only came across this a few years ago and was totally intrigued. Perhaps I should blog about it next time!

    Reply
  103. Glad you liked the post, Theo. Pedestrianism was basically competitive walking, and it was very big in Georgian times. I believe it grew out of the habit of aristocrats betting on which of their footmen could win walking races at carriage pace. People would lay bets on the pedestrians just like they would on the horses and pedestrians would undertake to do things like walk 100 miles in 24 hours. I only came across this a few years ago and was totally intrigued. Perhaps I should blog about it next time!

    Reply
  104. Glad you liked the post, Theo. Pedestrianism was basically competitive walking, and it was very big in Georgian times. I believe it grew out of the habit of aristocrats betting on which of their footmen could win walking races at carriage pace. People would lay bets on the pedestrians just like they would on the horses and pedestrians would undertake to do things like walk 100 miles in 24 hours. I only came across this a few years ago and was totally intrigued. Perhaps I should blog about it next time!

    Reply
  105. Glad you liked the post, Theo. Pedestrianism was basically competitive walking, and it was very big in Georgian times. I believe it grew out of the habit of aristocrats betting on which of their footmen could win walking races at carriage pace. People would lay bets on the pedestrians just like they would on the horses and pedestrians would undertake to do things like walk 100 miles in 24 hours. I only came across this a few years ago and was totally intrigued. Perhaps I should blog about it next time!

    Reply
  106. Jenny, I love your husband’s comment: “Never bet on anything that eats.” Good advice!
    Suzi, yes the crowds would be great for eavesdropping as well as people-watching, wouldn’t they!

    Reply
  107. Jenny, I love your husband’s comment: “Never bet on anything that eats.” Good advice!
    Suzi, yes the crowds would be great for eavesdropping as well as people-watching, wouldn’t they!

    Reply
  108. Jenny, I love your husband’s comment: “Never bet on anything that eats.” Good advice!
    Suzi, yes the crowds would be great for eavesdropping as well as people-watching, wouldn’t they!

    Reply
  109. Jenny, I love your husband’s comment: “Never bet on anything that eats.” Good advice!
    Suzi, yes the crowds would be great for eavesdropping as well as people-watching, wouldn’t they!

    Reply
  110. Jenny, I love your husband’s comment: “Never bet on anything that eats.” Good advice!
    Suzi, yes the crowds would be great for eavesdropping as well as people-watching, wouldn’t they!

    Reply
  111. I’ve never ever been to consult a fortune teller, Janice, and must admit to a bit of curiosity but the Donna Noble experience does put one off!
    Monty the dog and I found a stable cat and some kittens when we were out on our walk yesterday. Monty was very good and just sat wagging his tail whilst the mother cat watched him very suspiciously. The kittens were adorable!

    Reply
  112. I’ve never ever been to consult a fortune teller, Janice, and must admit to a bit of curiosity but the Donna Noble experience does put one off!
    Monty the dog and I found a stable cat and some kittens when we were out on our walk yesterday. Monty was very good and just sat wagging his tail whilst the mother cat watched him very suspiciously. The kittens were adorable!

    Reply
  113. I’ve never ever been to consult a fortune teller, Janice, and must admit to a bit of curiosity but the Donna Noble experience does put one off!
    Monty the dog and I found a stable cat and some kittens when we were out on our walk yesterday. Monty was very good and just sat wagging his tail whilst the mother cat watched him very suspiciously. The kittens were adorable!

    Reply
  114. I’ve never ever been to consult a fortune teller, Janice, and must admit to a bit of curiosity but the Donna Noble experience does put one off!
    Monty the dog and I found a stable cat and some kittens when we were out on our walk yesterday. Monty was very good and just sat wagging his tail whilst the mother cat watched him very suspiciously. The kittens were adorable!

    Reply
  115. I’ve never ever been to consult a fortune teller, Janice, and must admit to a bit of curiosity but the Donna Noble experience does put one off!
    Monty the dog and I found a stable cat and some kittens when we were out on our walk yesterday. Monty was very good and just sat wagging his tail whilst the mother cat watched him very suspiciously. The kittens were adorable!

    Reply
  116. What a fascinating post. I enjoyed it very much. I probably would have paid to sit i the grandstand but would no doubt have been mingling with fellow bettors. :)I love reading the stories of how they bet on anything and everything back then.
    Great info.
    Carol L.
    Lucky4750@aol.com

    Reply
  117. What a fascinating post. I enjoyed it very much. I probably would have paid to sit i the grandstand but would no doubt have been mingling with fellow bettors. :)I love reading the stories of how they bet on anything and everything back then.
    Great info.
    Carol L.
    Lucky4750@aol.com

    Reply
  118. What a fascinating post. I enjoyed it very much. I probably would have paid to sit i the grandstand but would no doubt have been mingling with fellow bettors. :)I love reading the stories of how they bet on anything and everything back then.
    Great info.
    Carol L.
    Lucky4750@aol.com

    Reply
  119. What a fascinating post. I enjoyed it very much. I probably would have paid to sit i the grandstand but would no doubt have been mingling with fellow bettors. :)I love reading the stories of how they bet on anything and everything back then.
    Great info.
    Carol L.
    Lucky4750@aol.com

    Reply
  120. What a fascinating post. I enjoyed it very much. I probably would have paid to sit i the grandstand but would no doubt have been mingling with fellow bettors. :)I love reading the stories of how they bet on anything and everything back then.
    Great info.
    Carol L.
    Lucky4750@aol.com

    Reply
  121. Fascinating post! Especially the Newbury Coat–how is it I have never heard of this before? As a handspinner, I can begin to estimate just HOW MUCH work was involved in the preparation of fabric and completion of this coat.
    I’d also enjoy having the post or other news brought to me via beagle.
    On racing day, I’d be in the grandstand, myself, under the shadiest of parasols.
    Rachel

    Reply
  122. Fascinating post! Especially the Newbury Coat–how is it I have never heard of this before? As a handspinner, I can begin to estimate just HOW MUCH work was involved in the preparation of fabric and completion of this coat.
    I’d also enjoy having the post or other news brought to me via beagle.
    On racing day, I’d be in the grandstand, myself, under the shadiest of parasols.
    Rachel

    Reply
  123. Fascinating post! Especially the Newbury Coat–how is it I have never heard of this before? As a handspinner, I can begin to estimate just HOW MUCH work was involved in the preparation of fabric and completion of this coat.
    I’d also enjoy having the post or other news brought to me via beagle.
    On racing day, I’d be in the grandstand, myself, under the shadiest of parasols.
    Rachel

    Reply
  124. Fascinating post! Especially the Newbury Coat–how is it I have never heard of this before? As a handspinner, I can begin to estimate just HOW MUCH work was involved in the preparation of fabric and completion of this coat.
    I’d also enjoy having the post or other news brought to me via beagle.
    On racing day, I’d be in the grandstand, myself, under the shadiest of parasols.
    Rachel

    Reply
  125. Fascinating post! Especially the Newbury Coat–how is it I have never heard of this before? As a handspinner, I can begin to estimate just HOW MUCH work was involved in the preparation of fabric and completion of this coat.
    I’d also enjoy having the post or other news brought to me via beagle.
    On racing day, I’d be in the grandstand, myself, under the shadiest of parasols.
    Rachel

    Reply
  126. Thank you very much, Runner! It sounds as though most of us would be mingling with the crowd to absorb the racegoing experience, or up in the grandstand watching like Minna. We’re an abstemious lot when it comes to the betting!

    Reply
  127. Thank you very much, Runner! It sounds as though most of us would be mingling with the crowd to absorb the racegoing experience, or up in the grandstand watching like Minna. We’re an abstemious lot when it comes to the betting!

    Reply
  128. Thank you very much, Runner! It sounds as though most of us would be mingling with the crowd to absorb the racegoing experience, or up in the grandstand watching like Minna. We’re an abstemious lot when it comes to the betting!

    Reply
  129. Thank you very much, Runner! It sounds as though most of us would be mingling with the crowd to absorb the racegoing experience, or up in the grandstand watching like Minna. We’re an abstemious lot when it comes to the betting!

    Reply
  130. Thank you very much, Runner! It sounds as though most of us would be mingling with the crowd to absorb the racegoing experience, or up in the grandstand watching like Minna. We’re an abstemious lot when it comes to the betting!

    Reply
  131. Nicola, sort of like the precursor to power walking? Which, by the way, I think looks absolutely silly, but what do I know? ;o)
    I think that would be a fascinating post though.

    Reply
  132. Nicola, sort of like the precursor to power walking? Which, by the way, I think looks absolutely silly, but what do I know? ;o)
    I think that would be a fascinating post though.

    Reply
  133. Nicola, sort of like the precursor to power walking? Which, by the way, I think looks absolutely silly, but what do I know? ;o)
    I think that would be a fascinating post though.

    Reply
  134. Nicola, sort of like the precursor to power walking? Which, by the way, I think looks absolutely silly, but what do I know? ;o)
    I think that would be a fascinating post though.

    Reply
  135. Nicola, sort of like the precursor to power walking? Which, by the way, I think looks absolutely silly, but what do I know? ;o)
    I think that would be a fascinating post though.

    Reply

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