HOW THE ST. LEGER GOT ITS NAME

by jdurney on August 11, 2012

THE KILDARE OBSERVER 10 SEPTEMBER 1921

How the St. Leger Got Its Name
A KILDARE GHOST STORY

Lady Wake, in her interesting "Reminiscences," mentions her visit to Doncaster races as a young girl in 1818. She writes that the best of the races, called the St. Leger, was in those days always fixed for Monday. Nowadays the first day of Doncaster week is Tuesday, the great race being run on Wednesday.
HOW BIG RACE GOT ITS NAME
The St. Leger takes its name from a member of Viscount Doneraile’s family, the founder having been Colonel Anthony St. Leger, a nephew of the first viscount. The first race was run in 1776, and the colonel died ten years later.
He was Grimsby’s member, and was colonel of the old 86th Foot, now the 2nd Royal Irish Rifles, but he attained considerable notoriety in another direction. He was a very hard-living man, and founded the Hell Fire Club of Ireland, a different affair from that which had its headquarters at Medmenham Abbey, on the Thames.
Colonel St. Leger lived at one time in Co. Kildare, and it is averred that he may be sometimes seen driving in the neighbourhood of Athy in a coach with four horses, the coachman being headless!
HELPED THE OTHER WILHELM TO LAND
The St. Leger family is one of the oldest in the kingdom, a Seynt Leger being among the Normans who came over with the Conqueror. In fact, it is traditionally reported that this warrior had the honour of helping the Conqueror out of the boat when he landed on these shores.
The male line, however, came to an end with the fourth Lord Doneraile, and the present viscount’s patronymic is in reality Aldworth.
At the fourth Lord Doneraile’s death the estate went to his sister’s son, St. Leger Aldworth, who later was created a viscount. The family estates, however, went to Lady Castletown, being left to her by her father, the fourth Lord Doneraile of the second creation.

A story from the Kildare Observer of 10 September 1921 on how the famous St. Leger race got its name. Re-typed by Chris Holzgräwe

Previous post:

Next post: