xt73tx351g6b https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt73tx351g6b/data/mets.xml Siltzer, Frank. 1923  books b98-42-41900599 English Scribners, : New York : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Horse racing Great Britain. Coursing. Newmarket (England) History. Newmarket: its sports and personalities  / by Frank Silzter ; a foreword by the Earl of Durham. text Newmarket: its sports and personalities  / by Frank Silzter ; a foreword by the Earl of Durham. 1923 2002 true xt73tx351g6b section xt73tx351g6b 


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Sport and Personalities m By
FRANK SILTZER      .0 A Foreword
With Thirty-two Illustrations in Colour and Half Tone

           New York


Prtinted in Great Britain



TImE title of this book naturally suggests that it deals with
Horse Racing, but it does not convey the fact that the author
has struck out for himself a new line of Turf literature. It is
the first effort, and a very charming one, to give us an authentic
and carefully verified account of the sporting, social and political
history of Newmarket. Captain Siltzer is to be congratulated
on his genuine enthusiasm in making researches and discoveries,
and on his skilful presentation of them to the public. His readers
will not feel that his anecdotes are too well known, as lie hints,
but wvill wish there were more or them.
   Everyone who knew Newmarket forty years ago will share his
hatred of the architectural monstrosities which have disfigured
the town since those days. But one need not agree with all his
strictures, or with all his views. Although I sympathize with
his regrets over the disappearance of some relies of the past, I
cannot, to take one example, share his grief at the loss of the
"lied Post." lie writes: " It was one of the few relies of the
past . . . almost an heirloom. Why was not sympathy extended
to an ancient memorial of racing days onl the great Heath  "
I am sceptical as to the venerable antiquity of the timber of which
it was composed, and can explain the vandalism which lie deplores.
It may not be generally known that our Jockey Club architect
had warned us that the Portland Stand at the top of the town
was dangerously insecure. We might have become liable to
prosecution for manslaughter if a crowd of spectators had caused
its collapse.




   There were many other objections to the old Cambridgeshire
Course even thirty years ago. In these days the chaos and con-
fusion of the migration of a modern crowd, and of motor convey-
ances from the Rowlcy Mile Stand to the Portland Stand would
be insuperable. The Jockey Club showed prescience in abandoning
the old Course. We gained more ground for training purposes,
but the retention of the Red Post would have interfered with
these gallops, and would have been dangerous to riders. Much
as the Jockey Club desires and tries to maintain old tradi-
tions, it is not, and will not be, reactionary or inconsiderate of
utilitarian requirements.
   Captain Siltzer's chapters on the antiquities of Newmarket,
and on the pictures in the Jockey Club Rooms and others, are
   The pictures belonging to the Jockey Club may not be of
mctih intrinsic value, but they arc of great interest, and I wish
we liad more portraits of celebrated horses. King Edward VII
set ali excellent (xamlplc by making and carrying out the sugges-
tion that nmeblllers of the Jockey Club who win the Derby should
present portraits of their horses to the Club. Nothing could
give greater pleasure to the Club and to the Turf than the receipt
of sulch a picture from our present Sovereign.
   The author describes the few interesting relics in the Jockey
Club Rooms, and wishes apparently for a sort of museum. Racing
" equipments " w ould not form a very attractive exhibition,
and the saddles, whips and spurs of celebrated jockeys would be
of little interest. When I go round some racing stables where it
is the practice to nail up the plates of victorious horses, with a
record of the races they have won, I am irresistibly reminded of
the shrivelled carcasses of vermin with which some gamekeepers
delight to decorate the precincts of their homes. Yet, as I write
this, I have only to lift my eyes to a book-case to see nailed




thereon one of the plates worn by Cicero when lie won the Derby.
It evokes memories of a very dear and lifelong friend, of a beauti-
ful and high-spirited little horse with which I was intimately
connected during his racing career, and of all the stirring events
of the last twenty years.
   There is a glamour, there is a charm about the Turf, quite
apart from the sordid aspects of gain or loss. The author has
successfully conjured up images of the past, and has given us
a lively impression of the love of sport and open-air pursuits
which has attracted the English people to Newmarket for
hundreds of years.
   His book ought to appeal to all good sportsmen who speak
or read the English language. " Good sportsmanship " and
" good fellowship " are synonymous terms, and have created a
bond of sympathy and friendliness between us and other countries
long before the League of Nations was invented. Such relations
are a welcome proof of world-wide appreciation of British love
of sport and fair play, and readers of this book will discover for
themselves that it is in this spirit that Captain Siltzer has written
this most pleasant and valuable description of Newniarket.


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CHAPTER                                          rAUE
  INTRODUCTION            .   .    .   .      . Xir

1. DAYS OF YORE  .      .   .    .   .   .    .    1

2. THE STUARTS     .    .   .   .    .   .    .  13

3. TiHE HEATH  .   .    .   .    .   .    .   .  51

4. Tim TOWN OF NEWMARKET    .    .   .    .   .  97

5. THE JOCKEY CLUB .    .   .    .   .   .    . 137

6. MAINLY ABOUT MEN AND WOMEN                   11.. 1

7. PICTURES             .   .            .    . 194

8. LATER DAYS                                   2..    .   .       15

  APPENDIX.    .   .   .    .   .    .   .      264

  INDEX                                    .    271

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The Subscription Rooms at Ncwmarket, 1825     J'rolti.
The Warren Lill

Newnmarket Races

The Extraordinary Match of Two-Hundred MIiles Against
   Time by G. Osbaldeston

Colonel Mellish and Buckle
The Warren Hill in 1790

A view on the Road to Newniarkct Races

Portraits of Lady Sarah Lennox and Sir Chas. Buinbury

id 11 6iF






                    IN HALF TONE
                                               FACING PALOF
The Town of Newmarket, circa 1669                     I 6
The Horse Match between Charles It and Henry Jermyn
   at Newmarket, 168k    .    .                      38

Newmarket Heath in 1787                  .   .        62

The Marquis of Exeter's Covered Ride at Newmarket, 1840  86

The Norwich Coach, at Christmias Time, on the Way to
   London, 1820 .   .    .    .    .    .    .   . 1(Jo

Plan of the Town of Newmarket in 1787      .      . 106

Newmarket: A View of the Town in 1801    .           112

The Rutland Arms     .    .    .    .    .           114

A Bit of Old Newmarket    .    .    .    .   .    . 118


xii                   Illustrations
                                                  YrACINO P. OEi
Entrance to Newnarket    A View of the Towii of New-
    market, 184.            .    .    .              . 128
Thc Rt. Hon. Georgc l'itt, Lord Rivers.    .    .     . 1:30
John Hilton    .    .    .    .     .    .      .     . 152
Jolhn Clark                                             134-
Samuel Betts     . .     .    .    .     .      .    . 1
lFinished(l Horses: Matchern and Trajan lluniiig at New-
    market  .    .    .     .    .    .    .    .    . 158
Eleanor  vwvnn   .       .                              1 62
Tregonwell F ranmpton         .                      . 166
01(1 Q.                                                 I..                  17
Samuel Chifney, Junior                               . 176
William (rockford.    .                                 182
Thl  Watering Place at New-market, with a View of the Course
    and the String of Horses Belonging to His Grace the
    Duke of Devonshire      .    .    .    .    .    . 198

Lady Lade      .    .    .    .     .    .      .    .
Escape           .     .    .       .    .    .       . 224
Newmarket To-day: The High Street     .    .    .     .28



Titis town is the heart of the racing world, as Manchester is
the seat of the cotton trade, or as Paris is the centre of
pleasure and fashion.
   But this book is not exclusively devoted to a chronicle of
racing events. The Turf is a subject that has inspired many
writers, both in times gone by and in our own (lay, but they have
most commonly refrained from straying beyond their own im-
mediate province. If I have ventutred farther afield, it is because
I am persuaded that many of those upon whom Newmarket
casts its spell will be glad to know something of the odds and
ends of its history and associations. The humble gleaner who
follows in the track of the reapers may bring home but a small
armful in comparison with the great sheaves which mark the
passage of the husbandman who is hired to do the hard work;
but he is free to gather up many things besides the ears of corn.
He has time to look about him, to listen to the birds, and to
pluck a bright flower here or, if it please him, to collect a rare
insect there.  His task is not only more varied but also more
   It is in this spirit that the following somewhat desultory
chronicle has been written.
   There is much common sense as well as human nature in
Doctor Johnson's utterance: " There is nothing so minute that
I would not rather know, than not," and those readers who agree
with this sentiment of the great philosopher will be indulgent to
the trivial or unimportant details which I have put on record.
   The collection of this miscellany has not been completed


xiv                    Introduction

without the most liberal and generous assistance .  hints
and the kindliest of advice have come to me when solicited,
from authors, from officials, trainers and residents at Newmarket,
from my friends the London dealers in old engravings, who have
cordially assisted me on the artistic and pictorial side; last, but
not least, from one of the greatest living authorities on the Stuart
period, who has supplied me with some most valuable references.
   The list is too lengthy to enumerate by name.
   Where should I have been without these friendly resources 
   I take this, the only opportunity which presents itself, to
extend my most sincere gratitude to all those to whom I am
deeply indebted, and to whom I am unable to tender my thanks
in any other fashion.
                                         FRANK SILTZER.


                         CHAPTER I
                         DAYS OF YORE
          Here we raise horses, that in speed outstrip
          The winds; go seek the plain which the Dcvil's Ditch
          Divides; a field with slender verdure green.
                                Philos. and Prac. Treatise on Horses.

T IHIS chapter must be taken as a kind of introduction to
     the real Newmarket.
         Now an introduction, be it to a place or person, is often
a tiresome function, only occasionally offering a possibility of
interest. Here the interest is of doubtful quality. Those far dis-
tant Iceni, the ancient British tribe who lived, fought, bred and
rode on the Heath, are dull and irksome to their posterity; just
as dull as they were in our school-days when all history began,
and too frequently seemed to end with the Early Britons.
   But the tale of Newmarket is the history of the wild, of the
seasons, and sunshine and rain on the Heath, the tale of the woods
and the plain. And interwoven with this history of nature arc
the struggles of the Iceni, their defeat by the Roman invader,
the tribal quarrels with their neighbours, their prowess and the
traditions of the tribe.
   The Iceni peopled the country later known as East Anglia . . .
a tract of land now divided into the shires of Cambridge, Hunting-
don, Norfolk and Suffolk; at Ixning, which adjoins Newmarket
Heath, there was a settlement which appears to have expanded
into what we may perhaps term a rude barbaric town. After
defeat by the Romans the Iceni seem to have retained their
king and kingdom under a system of vassalage to Rome, to
which city they had to pay tribute and a tax on certain products.
A coinage, possibly stamped for the purpose of paying this tribute,
was current amongst them, and early gold and silver coins, still
existent, bear on the reverse side the effigy of a horse.
   They must have known a good deal about horses, these
Iceni ! When Julius Caesar came to Britain, a century before






Boadicea's day, the one thing which specially impressed him in
his combats with the natives was their skill at horsemanship.
   As he tells us himself:
   Their way of fighting with their chariots is this: first they drive
their chariots on all sides and throw their darts, insomuch that by the
very terror of the horses and noise of the wheels they often break the
ranks of the enemy. When they have forced their way into the midst
of the cavalry they quit their chariots and fight on foot; meanwhile,
the drivers retire a little from the combat and place themselves in such
a manner as to favour the retreat of their countrymen, should they be
overpowered by the enemy. Thus in action they perform the part both
of nimble horsemen and stable infantry; and by continual exercise and
use have arrived at that expertness, that in the most steep and difficult
places they can stop their horses upon a full stretch, turn them which
way they please, run along the pole, rest on the harness, and throw them-
selves back into their chariots with incredible dexterity.,1
   After Boadicea's suicide, which followed on the practical
annihilation of her own army with that of other British tribes,
we hear no more of the Iceni in Roman history.
   But to come to Newmarket. It is a very homely, simple
name, suggestive of peace and plenty . . . it was literally a New
Market . . . the village to which the market at Exning was trans-
ferred when the plague broke out in the larger settlement in 1227.
   This is the explanation given by Dr. Dibdin, and I have
repeated it here on his authority.
   It is a name that now has world-wide fame as the shibboleth
of the Turf, as the password of the racing community. A name
that calls to the imagination with all the glamour of risks to be
run, of wealth to be won or lost, of the spirit of good fellowship
and wholesome sport.
   The town lay somewhat off the great high road leading from
London to the north, in a respectable obscurity which explains
the lack of events under the Plantagenets, or through the troubled
periods of the Houses of York and Lancaster; many of the great
tragedies of battle and disaster took place in the country to the
left of Newmarket, but the monotony of the undiscovered had
the town in thrall, and adventure, glorious or catastrophic,
passed to more convenient scenes of action.
   History had to make a detour to include Newmarket in the
annals of fame . . . a king sought out the drowsy little spot . . .
it should be a " pleasaunce for his disport," and as his caprice
                      1 Caesar, De Bello Gallico.


Days of Yore


was law, the town presently sprang to notoriety under the royal
approval, and became the Metropolis of Sport.
    A small space would suffice to depict the story.
    The green expanse, slashed by the Dyke and great Bank,
 dominating the whole; crowns and a jockey's cap in the fore-
 ground, one crown reversed under a mailed glove, horses, a
 captive hawk essaying flight, and the device " Play the Game."
    Yes, Newmarket, gay and radiant with sunshine, or sullen
 with winter gloom, insists that one and all shall play the old,
 yet ever new game with her.
    And what about that " great and ancient Ditch  " as Drayton
calls the Dyke.
    The old entrenchment is a fetich both to the race-goer and to
the local inhabitant . . . a kind of sacred lore attaches itself to
the historic landmark . . . hats are raised pour la bonne chance,
and the Goddess of Luck is invoked as the train approaches New-
market and cuts through one of the several modern gaps in the
structure. It may be that some dim tradition connects the
great line of earthworks and the fosse with the patriotic struggle
of those far-off Icenian days, and still survives in the memory of
the people; but it seems on the whole more probable that the
Devil's Dyke, its present name once acquired, has come to be
regarded as something consecrated to the powers of darkness,
and consequently as an influence to be propitiated in all those
hazards in which luck must inevitably play a prominent part.
Hence, perhaps the reason why the racing man who finds him-
self in presence of this relic of antiquity is wont respectfully to
doff his hat in salutation of the venerable earthwork; as though
to conciliate the genius loci, hoping that by such punctilious
behaviour good luck will attend the horsemen when, as of old, they
gallop ventre & terre over the still unbroken surface of the Heath.
   Possibly too, some vague memory yet survives of the dread
scythed chariots of the Iceni ! We know that their Queen
Boadicea drove to and fro amongst her subjects, encouraging
them in their bold bid for freedom, haranguing them and direct-
ing their operations.
   The first mention of the Devil's Dyke in history is found in
the Saxon Chronicle under the year 905, which tells us that the
land of the East Angles was laid waste between the Dyke and the
Ouse, as far northward as the fens.




   In the Norman Period the Dyke became St. Edmund's Dyke,
for the good reason that the jurisdiction of the abbots of Bury
St. Edmunds extended as far west as this Ditch. A writer of
the tenth century, one Abbo Floxiacensis, describing his visit to
Britain, sums it up with brief accuracy. Speaking of East Anglia
he goes on to say that on the west " this province joins to the
rest of the island, and consequently there is a passage; but to
prevent the enemies' frequent incursions it is defended by a bank
like a lofty wall and a ditch. ...  
   The best point at which to view the Dyke is on the existing
golf links, where it still presents bold features. The rampart
strikes northward across the Heath in a straight course of eight
miles, to a stream near the village of Reach, so named because it
indicated the point to which the Dyke reached or extended;
to the right are streams and fenland, to the left forest-land.  As
in all probability the entrenchment was intended to secure the
plain of Newmarket against an enemy approaching from the
west, it is raised on the eastern side, and must have offered an
impassable barrier, for it measures about ninety feet from the
escarpment to the bottom of the Ditch. On the top of the ram-
part is a course wide enough for cavalry or chariots . . . some
eighteen feet in breadth. The wall was probably defended with
stakes or palisades; and with the most marvellous skill the
whole work was dug in the solid stratum    of chalk which lies
on Newmarket Heath under the vegetable mould, and was
presumably faced with green sods, as it is to-day.
   The Fleam Dyke or Flemditch (Dyke of Flight) runs parallel
with the great Ditch, and was evidently another line of
defence for the inhabitants of East Anglia against the attacks
of the Mercians. The name appears to be commemorative of
some great flight . . . this earthwork continues for seven miles
or so . . . hence the second name of Seven-Mile Dyke. To
the east is a large tumulus.  The two other dykes are called
respectively Five-Mile and Brenditch.
      . . .Flemditch next myself, that art of greatest strength,
      That do'st extend thy course full seven large miles in length
      And thou the Five-mile call'd, yet not less dear to me,
      Wvith Brenditch, that again is shortest of the three. . . .
    Drayton takes the view that the " antient ditches and sur-
veys " were made by the first Saxons.
               I Poly-olbion, Song 21. Michael Drayton.


Days of Yore


   Opinions vary as to the origin of these ramparts.
   Certain writers assert definitely that their construction is
due to the Icenian people, who, perceiving the weakness of their
boundary, sought to strengthen it against enemy advances . . .
another presumption is that they were the work of Roman legions
in occupation in Britain . . . it still remains an open question.
   But one thing is very sure, and that is the certainty that the
Dyke has been the scene of battles, and was built for purposes of
defence against the invader. Interesting discoveries have been
made in the course of excavation, which go far towards confirm-
ing this conclusion-skeletons of the long dead warriors, arrow-
heads of flint as sharp as razors, etc., but this evidence is not
necessary to convince us that we are facing a military defence,
and a formidable one at that.
   The great Dyke has been broken through at various intervals
on the race-course to form apertures for the running horses, so
that the contours here are not so bold as on the Links; while
the fact that the sward has been disturbed by these gaps or
"gates " as they are called, gives more scope for wind and rain
to effect their destructive action.
   As the racial perception of the Saxon developed through the
periods of immigration and conquest, he realized the magnitude
of this " bank and Ditch," and still under the influence of the
paganism that tinged his Christianity he was anxious to be on
good terms with the unknown power who was responsible for
them. If the Christian God Whom he so vaguely recognized,
were not the Author and Creator of the huge entrenchment, then
obviously it was the work of the Devil.
   Drayton, writing in 1619, condemns this heathen policy:
   I by th' East Angles first, who from this heath arose,
   The long'st and largest ditch, to check their Mercian foes
   Because my depth, and breadth, so strangely doth exceed,
   Men's low and wretched thoughts, they constantly decreed,
   That by the devil's help, I needs must raised be,
   Wherefore the Devil's-ditch they basely named me;
   When ages long before, I bare Saint Edmond's name,
   Because up to my side (some have supposed) came
   The libertise bequeathed to his most sacred shrine.
   Therefore my fellow Dykes, ye antient friends of mine,
   That out of earth were raised, by men whose minds were great,
   It is no marvel, though oblivion do you treat.
                                           Drayton, Poly-olbion.




   It is curious to note how the popular name has survived
through the centuries, while the name given by the monastic
administration was neither popular nor long lived.
   Past and present meet on the Links, the intellectual form
of time is obliterated; the very same opposition encountered
by the Mercian arrow of the sixth century checks the golf ball
of the twentieth ; the Ditch and Bank arc as formidable as they
ever were.
   The Dyke serves as good cover, too, for a line of guns for-
ttinate enough to be indulging in a day's partridge driving on one
of the best manors of the country; thus it has its modern uses.
   The ground known as the Links' Beat has, from early days,
been associated with partridges and pheasants. Sir Giles Capel
was lord of the manor in the reign of Henry VIII, and a grant
made to his first wife of twenty marks a year, by Henry VII,
was confirmed by his successor. But the payments fell into arrear,
so Sir Giles explained his grievance to Chancellor Cromwell, just
mentioning quite casually in his letter " that his goshawk has
killed a few pheasants and partridges," which he is forwarding
for the Chancellor's acceptance. The timely present was much
appreciated, and Sir Giles promptly received an order on the
Exchequer for the arrears of his wife's annuity.
   In view of the fact that Newmarket has at such frequent
periods been intimately connected with royalty and reigning
sovereigns, it is interesting to recall that Exning, the mother-
town, was the birthplace of Etheldreda, wife of the King of
Northumberland. She was a lady of much piety, and had a
curious history. Many suitors had asked her hand in marriage,
for she was very beautiful; after much persuasion and even
pressure she consented to take a husband, who made a compact
with her to live in total abstinence from the marriage bed . . .
this husband soon died, and the hand of Etheldreda was bestowed
on another suitor, for political reasons. With this second hus-
band also she " remained glorious in the perpetual integrity of
virginity," and with the direct assistance of Heaven she ulti-
mately built a large monastery at Ely, of which she became
Abbess. There was no question of easy divorce in those days,
and sucing for restitution of conjugal rights had not come into
fashion, so we can only surmise that the husbands found solace
and consolation elsewhere !


Days of Yore


    In 1107 the monastery was converted into a bishopric, the
 episcopal see of Ely was founded, and the building of the fine
 cathedral, so distinctly seen from Newmarket Heath on a clear
 day, was begun.
    It is much to be regretted that the early records of the town are
 so inadequate; they give no scope for anecdotes, there are few
 events which demand even a passing comment.
    The popular idea of the Ancient Briton as a wild man of the
 woods, dressed in a little woad and living in a cave, killing for
 bare sustenance or in self-defence, is slightly modified by the
 theory of certain authorities, that some of the old British tribes,
 and notably the Iceni, were really a fairly civilized people; hardy
 fighting men with a king of their own and notions of protecting
 their boundaries.
    What small knowledge we have of their history and coinage
 leads us to conclude that they bred and dealt in horses. If this
 be so, we may suppose that at their headquarters on the Heath
 they combined profit and pleasure, and raced with the steeds
 which they eventually sold. The competitive spirit is elemental
 in human nature, and one may safely assume that the Icenian
 youth would be as passionately desirous to showes his superiority
 on horseback, as to manifest his extreme eligibility to the ladies
 of his tribe whom he rather ruthlessly wooed, after the mode of
 his day.
   In one of his books, the Venerable Bede tells us incidentally
that horse-racing was a practice among the Anglo-Saxons . . .
he recounts how a number of people on a journey come to a
plain well adapted to a race-course; the sight of this turfy ex-
panse excites the young men of the party to prove their horses
in the " greater course." This plain appears to be what we now
know as the Heath.
   The name of Exning or Ixning is derived from the word
Icini . . . as Newmarket rose in importance so Exning sank
into obscurity and became the comfortable village which it is
   In Camden's Britannica, 1637, there is an account of New-
market and the Heath, the latter described as " a sandy and
barren ground yet green withall"; but at that date the Stuart
period was well on its way, and the golden age of Newmarket at




   The earliest allusion to the town, apart from Exning, appears
in a grant of Henry III to a certain Richard de Argentine, dated
1220-27, establishing a fair to be held at his manor of Newmarket,
which fair was to last for three days every year: in 1293 there
is a confirmation of this grant extending the duration of the
fair to eight days, and ordering that it should be held on the
stuper-vigil and vigil of the feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle.
   This Richard de Argentine seems to have acquired the manor
of Newmarket by marriage, about the year 1223; it remained
in possession of the family until 1437, when the heiress of John
de Argentine married William Alington. From the Alingtons
the property passed into the hands of the Dukes of Somerset,
and eventually, by marriage, into the possession of the Dukes
of Rutland, together with the adjoining manor of Cheveley.
   Mention is made of tournaments at Newmarket in 1309, when
King Edward II issued a proclamation " to faithful Earls, Barons
and Knights and all others about to come and tilt at the town"
. . . enjoining them not to tilt or make jousts without special
licence; a second and similar proclamation was made in 1313,
when the King warned his nobles generally, and seven of them
by name, not to attend the tournament at Novum Mercatum,
in January of that year. The luckless sovereign had reason to
dread any occasion which brought about a general meeting of
the lords and barons; and the Heath would lend itself as easily
to a demonstration against an unpopular ruler, as to an exhibition
of equestrian art.
   Hapless Richard II " loved well to have a horse of pryse,"
and was quite unscrupulous as to the methods he employed to
procure mounts for his soldiers on campaign: his chief resource
was to ransack the abbeys, where a goodly store of horses was
to be found. The church, however, showed herself generous
to a stricken foe, for Thomas Merks, or Markes, a distinguished
native of Newmarket and Bishop of Carlisle, was bold enough to
defend the King's lost cause, and to say publicly that he was not
being treated with the justice which should be shown to the
least of his subjects. But Merkes stood alone ; Richard was
deposed, and his defender committed for high treason by the
usurping Henry IV. Merks spent some time as prisoner in the
Tower, but was released by the King's good grace and presented with
the living of Todenham, in Gloucestershire, where he died in 1409.


-I E

. -






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Days of Yore


   The reign of Richard II saw great floods at Newmarket;
walls of houses were washed away, and the inhabitants in danger
of drowning; which reminds us that:
    The Angles .
    Allured with the delights and fitness of that place
    Where the Iceni lived, did set their kingdom down,
    From where the wallowing seas those queachiy \Washes drowv
    That Ely do in-isle, to martyred Edmund's Ditch. . . .  
and the queachy Washes were living up to the reputation which
Drayton later bestowed upon them.
   It was a world of extremes and contrasts, this world of the
Middle Ages ... religion, war, sport, hospitality. . . . Pilgrims
from London, led by the star to the Shrine of Our Lady of Wal-
singlham, halted at Newmarket for rest and refreshment.   A
motley crowd : abbots, nuns, knights, esquires and men-at-arms
would fill the streets of the small wooden town ; would gather
in the market-place, round the guildhalls. A pilgrimage, induced
by piety, as in most cases it undoubtedly was, had the advantage
of combining the novelty of travel with the accomplishment of a
vow, the performance of some penance; and Our Lady was none
the less fervently invoked because gossip from London was eagerly
retailed, and as eagerly listened to.
   Until the latter part of the fifteenth century, the English
horse, Equus Britannicus, had a great and well-merited repu-
tation on the Continent. The sovereigns lavished money on
the royal stud; the great barons and ecclesiastics were renowned
for their fine horses.  Chaucer makes frequent allusion to the
sporting churchman: " of skill and mastery proved, a bold
hand at a leap, who hunting loved. . . . "  But with