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The Outwood Races

Richard Bell’s Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Thursday, 26th February 2009

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Outwood Racecourse 1750

MRS MULSO & Miss Chardavoyne set out to-morrow Morning & go into Lodgings at Wakefield to assist at ye Diversions of the Race Week : Their Cloaths were yesterday carried over in a Cart, for they exceeded a Horse Load a good deal : The dear Creatures not only always travell with a Bundle, (as Mr Richardson* observes) but a pretty large Bundle too.

Rev. John Mulso, Thornhill Rectory, Monday, 7th September, 1761

And now suppose yourself upon Horbury Bridge, near two miles from Us, & that there You met your Friend in the Quality of Conductor and Master of the riding School to his Ladies ; Mrs Mulso behind her John, & Miss Chardavoyne riding single : Can You have an Idea that would more divert You? “ Madam, You sit very well, but pray give your Horse his Head more free, as he steps over the Stones” ! “ My Dear, think yourself safe & you will sit more easy ; Don’t fix your Eye on ye Hedges, let it range over the Prospect ; enjoy the Country ; Don’t think of Safety but Pleasure.” &c. :-at the same Time thrusting myself back in ye Saddle by ye Pommel, & disconcerted at my little Nag’s trotting too fast. But You will be pleased with these Circumstances, because you will find that Mrs Mulso has taken your advice ; (no Purple Gown interfering.) She has rode several Times, a good Way ; and you may suppose our Country, (where I know no level Piece of Ground so long as my own Grass Plot† ) a Sort of Dagger Affair : She is not compleat, but ye great Distress is over in ye first getting up. She has great Pleasure in ye Thought of escorting You from Wakefield.

Monday, 11th August, 1760

Outwood Racecourse in 1750. It closed in 1794.


This afternoon I led one of my Walks in the Rhubarb Triangle as part of Wakefield’s Rhubarb Festival which took us to Grand Stand Lane, Lawns village. The site of the racecourse is now part of the 41 Industrial Estate.

John Mulso (c.1720-1791) was writing to his friend the Rev. Gilbert White (1720-1806), author of The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789). You can track down a digitised copy of Mulso’s letters online.
Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) author of Clarissa.
†130 yards long