Two accounts of accidents at Oswestry Racecourse, involving racehorses and Burgesses, have recently come to light.

The first accident happened in 1784 and was reported by the Shrewsbury Chronicle. Mr. Edwards [owner] and Mr. Gamble [jockey] were racing their horse, ‘Jack Spiggot’, when it bolted while running the third heat. As it was going to jump the fence, both Messrs Edwards and Gamble were unseated.

Mr. Edwards fell backwards and broke his back, while Mr. Gamble fell forwards and was crushed to death by the horse as it came back to the ground.

It was later reported that both gentlemen were intoxicated and were not paying due care and attention when the unfortunate accidents occurred.

The second accident happened in 1822 and was reported by the Oswestry Herald, a newspaper which was founded and operated by Mr. William Cathrall, whose book on the History of Oswestry has been used many times to assist us in our historic journey across the decades.

Two unnamed young women had travelled from Chirk to watch the races and had taken their places on the stands opposite the Feathers’ booth. Both were accidentally knocked down by a horse and carriage and had fallen into the pathway. Before they could be rescued, another horse and carriage continued on its journey and the wheels went straight over the women.

The first woman to fall was injured so badly that her family didn’t know whether or not she would survive; but luckily, just before this newspaper article was published, it was reported by her family that she awoke from her coma and was reported as “almost perfectly recovered”. The second woman escaped with a few bruises. The jockeys and owners of the horses and carriages responsible escaped punishment.


‘Oswestry Racecourse’ [Pages 17 & 18], by Harry Ruckley (1989)

A watercolour painting of the Grandstand of Oswestry Racecourse, by Mr. Eric Thomas.

Date unknown, but after 1848.


- Oswestry Genealogy:; and

- ‘Oswestry Racecourse’ [Page 34], by Harry Ruckley (1989)