The overlays that highlight 17th century London features are approximate and derived from Wenceslaus Hollar’s maps:

Open location in Google Maps: 51.336097, -0.267378

6 Annotations

First Reading

Cumgranissalis  •  Link

The town of Epsom first became famous for it's natural mineral water when a local farmer, Henry Wicker took his cattle up to a watering hole on the Downs in 1618. The alleged healing properties of the water brought crowds from London who wanted to escape the squalor in return for the country air.

1661 saw the first recorded race meeting to be held on the Epsom Downs and the
tradition continued until the summer of 1779 when one of today's greatest ...…


Second Reading

Terry Foreman  •  Link

The first recorded race was held on the Downs in 1661, although a local burial list of 1625 refers to "William Stanley who in running the race fell from his horse and brake his neck" so it is likely that racing was established much earlier than that. Epsom is referenced in the diary of Samuel Pepys in 1663 and Charles II is said to have been a racegoer there. By 1684, Epsom had a clerk of the course and from 1730 was hosting twice yearly race meetings.

In the summer of 1779 Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby organised a race for himself and his friends to race their three-year-old fillies. He named it the Oaks after his estate. The race became so successful that the following year a new race was added for colts and fillies - the Epsom Derby.…

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.







  • Aug