Welcome to Wicstun
The mediaeval town now known as
Market Weighton - The Heart of East Yorkshire
750 Years a Market Town, 1251 - 2001

The 'Local' Race - The Kiplingcotes Derby
The History of the Race

A Brief History
The Neil Thwaites Memorial Finishing Post
The 1979 Race Commemorative First Day Cover
Results Archive 1993 - 2012
Race Reports 1999/2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014

A Brief History

The Kiplingcotes Derby is said to be the oldest flat race in England, dating back to
1519, but it was not until 1669 that it became an endowed race thus ensuring its future.
It traditionally takes place on the third Thursday in March and is a challenge to all who take part, whether riders or spectators, as the weather can be very unkind at this time of the year.

The next race : 19th March 2015

The race covers a distance of 4 miles over farm lanes and tracks, starting at an old stone post on the grass verge in the parish of Etton, not far from the old Kiplingcotes railway station near Market Weighton, and finishing at Londesborough Wold Farm.
Course Map
Kiplingcotes Railway Station as it is today.
Kiplingcotes Railway Station

Kiplingcotes Railway Station as it was in 1946

Photo kindly donated by Nancy

Kiplingcotes Railway station - 1946.
The route follows grass verges along the roadside over Goodmanham Wold to Enthorpe Woods, where the course follows unmetalled tracks towards the finishing post at Londesborough Wold.

The hamlet of ENTHORPE originally known as JANELFESTHORPE (according to the Domesday book) where once more than 800 people worked and lived, now consists of a farm and a disused railway station.

The Railway Cottages at Enthorpe in 1920, no doubt a fleeting glimpse for the runners as they galloped by.

Photo kindly donated by Nancy

Railway Cottages - Enthorpe 1920

The nearby Enthorpe Chapel in 1920

Photo kindly donated by Nancy

Enthorpe Chapel 1920

The 'Rules' drawn up in 1618 say:-

'A horse race to be observed and ridd yearly on the third Thursday in March; open to horses of all ages, to convey horsemen's weight, ten stones, exclusive of saddle, to enter ye post before eleven o'clock on the morning of ye race. The race to be run before two.'

The incentive to win the race is a prize of £50, however the second horse home can, unusually, receive a higher amount, this being made up of the sum of all the entrance fees, each of £4.25 !

In keeping with the unusual, no one knows how many horses and riders will enter the race until the actual morning of the race itself.  The 1998 race attracted a total of seven entries, ensuring an entertaining sight for the many spectators.


The Neil Thwaites Memorial Finishing Post

Kiplingcoates Derby Winning Post

A commemorative corn wreath and floral tribute in honour of the late Neil Thwaites, was attached to the winning post on the occasion of the 1999 race.  Neil was a big supporter of the race, and helped to erect the winning post some years ago.

Neil Thwaites - The Corn Dolly Man


The 1979 Race Commemorative First Day Cover

1997 Race - First Day Cover

First Day Cover kindly provided by Andrew Sissons


An excellent account of the race and its history can be found in the following publications;

The Kiplingcotes Derby - England's Oldest Horse Race
Alison Ellerington
Highgate Publications (Beverley) Ltd, 1990
ISBN 0 948929 32 4

History of an east Yorkshire Estate Village
By David Neave with drawings by Neil Thwaites
Published by Londesborough Silver Jubilee Committee, 1977
Reprinted 1994 by Horsley & Dawson Ltd., Driffield, East Yorkshire

Fairs, Feasts and Frolics
Customs and Traditions in Yorkshire
Julia Smith
Smith Settle, Ilkley Road, Otley, West Yorkshire LS21 3JP
ISBN 1 870071 31 X

Unless otherwise stated all images on these pages are the sole property of the author.
Reproduction in whole or in part by any means, is not permitted without prior permission.

Last revision : 27 March, 2014