"NEWMARKET, partly comprises the parishes of All Saints, and St. Mary, it is a market town and seat of a Poorlaw Union, the parish of All Saints being in the hundred of Cheveley, county Cambridge, and that of St. Mary, in the hundred of Lackford, county Suffolk, (The High-street dividing the two counties), 12 miles N.E. of Cambridge, and 61 N. by E. of London. It is a station on the Cambridge and Bury branch of the Great Eastern railway. The town, which is situated in a valley, has been celebrated for its races and racing establishments since the time of James I., when a house was built here for the especial use of the king and his retinue. This house, which did not escape the ravages of the Civil War, was rebuilt by Charles II., but has been twice subsequently almost wholly destroyed by fire, though a small portion of the original building is still standing. The stables in which the royal stud was formerly kept are close to this house, as is also the mansion belonging to the Jockey Club, which may be considered as the headquarters of that society. The Beacon racecourse is more than 4 miles long, and perhaps the finest in the world. It is on the western side of the town. The celebrated "Childers" went over it in 72 1 minutes. The round course is more than 3½ miles. The training ground is on the S. side of the town, and cannot be matched in England. There are numerous training establishments in Newmarket, and, as may be supposed, a great part of the inhabitants are trainers, or connected with the racing stables. Seven times during the year there are races, which are invariably attended by rank and fashion.
The town contains a literary institution, with reading-rooms, two banks, a free school, and National schools. The main street is upwards of three-quarters of a mile long, and most of the houses are well built, and many are betting houses. The town, though only partially paved, is well lighted with gas, and healthy. It has the advantage of being under a local board of health. Twice has the town been nearly destroyed by fire, once in 1623, and again early in the last century. The prosperity of Newmarket is mainly due to horseracing, which has caused a great many first-class hotels and inns to be erected. Some malting and brewing is carried on, and there is a corn market. There are two parish churches-one, All Saints, the living of which is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ely, value £100, in the patronage of the Bishop of Norwich; the other, St. Mary's, the living of which is a rectory* also in the diocese of Ely, value £250. The church of St. Mary is an ancient Gothic structure built of stone, and was recently restored, when a piscina of the time of Henry III. was discovered. It contains the tomb of Trampton, the trainer to William III. and three successive sovereigns. The register commences from the time of Charles II. There are chapels for Wesleyans and Independents. It is the head of a Poor-law Union comprising 29 parishes, and the seat of a county court, which sits once a month. The Devil's Ditch on the downs is a very remarkable hollow more than 100 feet broad, and nearly 5 miles long, with a slope of upwards of 50 feet on the S.W. side. Near this spot some Roman coins and relics were found a century ago. There are remains of a palace of the Stuart period, and Nell Gwynn occupied a house in the town. The Duke of Bedford, Marquis of Exeter, Baron Rothschild, and other eminent patrons of the turf, have extensive training establishments here. Market day is Tuesday. Fairs are held on Whit-Tuesday for cattle, &c., and a pleasure fair on the 8th November."
Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)