William Tregonwell Frampton
From its early connections with horseracing Newmarket has been associated with colourful and often eccentric characters attracted to the world of sport and gambling. The patronage of the monarchy and the building of Royal Palaces from the time of James I gave the town an aura of nobility. Many titled, distinguished or well connected persons had residences in the town, which became a centre for sport and gambling - horseracing, coursing, hawking and cock-fighting
Unlike many of his contempories, who considered the pursuit of the opposite sex part of their sport, Frampton was a misogynist, his great love being sport in all its other varieties peculiar to Newmarket. He particularly loved pitting of his wits as a gambling man and took great financial risks when backing his judgement on the merits of a particular horse. One particular wager took place over the relative abilities of a horse owned by Frampton as opposed to one called Merlin, owned by Sir William Strickland from Yorkshire. The race attracted great interest and enormous sums were laid on the respective favourites, some even wagering their entire cash and property. Merlin won and some of the losers were ruined financially, but being such a wily man Frampton had probably covered both eventualities and in any case he was used to winning or losing large sums with equal equanimity. As a result of this match a law was introduced limiting the recovery of gambling debts to the sum of £10, but in Newmarket where very high stakes were the order of the day, it seems to have been ignored and was eventually repealed under George II.
He was a great exponent of 'cocking' over which sport much money also changed hands and he wrote to a friend giving detailed instructions on the rearing, feeding and handling of birds, including the following advice:
"Be sure that you do not part with your best cocks to those that love the sport, for if you should they will have as good as you have, and will not desire your assistance, which must not be"
Peter Tillemans (1680? - 1734)
Frank Siltzer 'NEWMARKET - ITS SPORT AND PERSONALITIES'
Newmarket Local History Society -'The History of Newmarket and Its Surrounding Areas'
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