Henry Earle of Pembroke [1570-1601] instituted Salisbury
Race;* which hath since continued very famous, and
beneficiall to the city. He gave ..... pounds
to the corporation of Sarum to provide every yeare,
in the first Thursday after Mid-Lent Sunday, a silver
bell [see note below], of ...... value; which, about
1630, was turned into a silver cup of the same value.
This race is of two sorts: the greater, fourteen
miles, beginnes at Whitesheet and ends on Harnham-hill,
which is very seldom runn, not once perhaps in twenty
yeares. The shorter begins at a place called
the Start, at the end of the edge of the north downe
of the farme of Broad Chalke, and ends at the standing
at the hare-warren, built by William Earle of Pembroke,
and is four miles from the Start.
[In the civic archives of Salisbury, under the date of 1585, is the following memorandum:- “These two years, in March, there was a race run with horses at the farthest three miles from Sarum, at the which were divers noble personages, and the Earl of Cumberland won the golden bell, which was valued at 501. and better, the which earl is to bring the same again next year, which he promised to do, upon his honour, to the mayor of this city”. See Hatcher’s History of Salisbury, p. 294. In the Appendix to that volume is a copy of an Indenture, made in 1654, between the Mayor and Commonalty of the city and Sir Edward Baynton of Bromham, relative to the race-cup. It recites that Henry Earl of Pembroke in his lifetime gave a golden bell, to be run for yearly, “at the place then used and accustomed for horse races, upon the downe or plaine leading from New Sarum towards the towne of Shaston [Shaftesbury], in the county of Dorset”. This would imply that the nobleman referred to was not the founder of Salisbury Races. — J. B.]
It is certain that Peacock used to runn the four-miles course in five minutes and a little more; and Dalavill since came but little short of him. Peacock was first Sir Thomas Thynne’s of Long-leate; who valued him at 1,000 pounds. Philip Earle of Pembrock gave 51i. but to have a sight of him: at last his lordship had him; I thinke by gift. Peacock was a bastard barb. He was the most beautifull horse ever seen in this last age, and was as fleet as handsome. He dyed about 1650.
lies the man whose horse did gaine
The bell in race on Salisbury plaine;
Reader, I know not whether needs it,
You or your horse rather to reade it.”