The Chester Racecourse site was home to the famous and bloody Goteddsday football match. The game was very violent and, in 1533, banned by the city, to be replaced in 1539 by horse racing. The first recorded race was held on 9 February 1539 (although other sources list this as 10 January 1511)with the consent of the Mayor Henry Gee, whose name led to the use of the term “gee-gee” for horses.] Races originally took place on Goteddsday (Shrove Tuesday) until 1609, and thereafter on St George’s Day, both major festivals during the medieval period. Victors were awarded the “Chester Bells”, a set of decorative bells for decorating the horse’s bridle, and from 1744 the “Grosvenor Gold Cup”, a small tumbler made from solid gold (later silver). In 1745, the meeting became a four-day one, with one race on each day. In 1766 a May Festival was introduced, and in 1824, the Tradesmen’s Cup Race (the predecessor to the Chester Cup) was also introduced.

The racecourse was at that point still just an open field, with the first grandstand finished in 1817 and the first admittance fee not being taken until 1897. The stand was rebuilt in 1899–1900, and was replaced after being destroyed by a fire set by an arsonist in 1985.

Why not stay at No.38 Hough Green Chester and visit this wonderful historic race course – just a 10 minute walk away.  www.holidayletchester.co.uk

By Terri Gray|Chester, Uncategorized

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