Reigate (// RY-gate) is a town in Surrey, England, approximately 30 km (19 mi) south of central London. It is in the London commuter belt and one of four towns in the borough of Reigate and Banstead. It is sited at the foot of the North Downs and extends over part of the Greensand Ridge. Reigate has a medieval castle and has been a market town since the medieval period, when it also became a parliamentary borough.
Old Town Hall, Reigate
|Population||21,820 (electoral definition) or 22,123 (Built-up Area)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||19.1 mi (30.7 km) N by NE|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
Colley Hill, one mile (1.6 km) north-west of Reigate, is 722 feet (220 m) high. Reigate Hill, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) due east of Colley Hill, is 771 feet (235 m) high, and they both have panoramas along the North Downs Way.
The name "Reigate" first appears in written sources in the 1190s. Similar forms are also recorded in the late medieval period, including Reigata in 1170, Regate in 1203, Raygate in 1235, Rigate in 1344 and Reighgate (1604). The name is thought to derive from the Old English rǣge meaning "roe deer" and the Middle English gate, which might indicate an enclosure gate through which deer were hunted. It has been suggested that the "rei" element may have evolved from the Middle English ray, meaning a marshland or to a stream, however this is considered unlikely as the Old English form of this word is ree rather than rey.[note 1]
Woodhatch may derive from the Old English word hæc meaning "gate", and the name may mean "gate to the wood". It is possible, in this instance, that the "wood" referred to is the Weald. In 1623 a survey of the manor of Reigate noted a "Bowling Alley lying before the gate of the Tenement called Woodhatch". Alternatively, the name may derive from that of a local resident: A "Thomas ate Chert" is recorded as living at the settlement in the early 14th century and Woodhatch may mean "woodland of the ate Chert family".
The town centre is, save for the castle, focused on Bell Street, leading south, and a long High Street/West Street conservation area with shops, cafés, bars and restaurants. Between the streets is a Morrisons supermarket. The other central supermarket is an M&S. The swathe of land from the town southwards, including the adjacent town of Redhill, is sometimes grouped together as the Gatwick Diamond, M23 corridor or Crawley Urban Area across more than 15 miles (24 km) into West Sussex. These three largely synonymous areas are interspersed with Metropolitan Green Belt land and are used by planners to highlight connectivity to Gatwick Airport and in respect of two, the city of Brighton and Hove.
Hamlets and neighbourhoodsEdit
Skimmington is a small hamlet made up of Skimmington Cottages, Heathfield Farm and Nursery, and on the C-road, Flanchford Road, Reigate Heath Golf Club House and Course. The Skimmington Castle (the most historic building, Grade II-listed) pub is by the cottages. It arguably includes most of Reigate Heath; its buildings are however predominantly south-east of Flanchford Road. Skimmington includes eight pre-historic tumuli (bowl barrows), two in one close group, several within the golf club. It is well documented by rambling groups for its serenity, hills and woods – it lies on the Greensand Way 1 mile (1.6 km) along the due west path in the south of Reigate Park or Priory Park.
Woodhatch is the southern suburb of Reigate with 3 parades of shops. Western Parade is adjacent to the London to Brighton road, which is the only road towards the south from Reigate excluding the motorway network. This parade of shops contains a Co-Op, a jewellers, a bakery, a butchers and an Indian Restaurant among other shops. Opposite these shops there is another parade of shops including an Off-licence, a cafe, a fish and chip shop, a petrol station and a newsagents. A vape shop has also recently opened on the parade of shops. There is a 3rd parade of shops known as Trehaven Parade which includes a laundrette, another co-op and a kebab shop.
The suburb centres around the triangular shaped Woodhatch Park which has a children's playground, football facilities, a gazebo, a seating area surrounded by plants and open grass for dog walkers.
Woodhatch lies on the Weald Clay, a sedimentary rock primarily consisting of mudstone that was deposited in the early Cretaceous. Much of Reigate is on the strata of the Lower Greensand Group. This group is multi-layered and includes the sandy Hythe Beds overlaid by the clayey Sandgate Beds, which together form the high ground of Priory Park. Reigate Heath and the town centre are on quartz-rich Folkestone Beds and the water-filled part of the castle moat is dug into narrow band of clay present in the sandstone. To the north of the railway line is the Gault Formation, a stiff blue-black shaly clay, deposited in a deep-water marine environment. At the base of the North Downs is a thin outcrop of Upper Greensand , above which lies the Chalk Group.
A number of quarries have operated in the Reigate area. Weald clay was dug for brickmaking at Brown's Brickyard in Woodhatch and building sand was excavated from Barnards Pit, to the west of the town, and at Wray Common Road to the east.  Seams of silver sand which occur in the Folkestone Beds were quarried for glass making and the caves beneath the castle may originally have been excavated for this purpose, before being used as cellars. There is also evidence of ironstone extraction in the town, although this practice is thought to have ceased by 1650.
Reigate Stone was mined from the Upper Greensand from Medieval times until the mid-20th century and was used in the construction of several local buildings, including the castle, Reigate Priory and St Mary's Church. There are the remains of a number of old chalk pits to the north of the town and lime is thought to have been produced at a site at the base of Colley Hill, although the age of the workings is uncertain.
The earliest evidence of human activity in the Reigate area is a triangular stone axe from the Paleolithic, which was found in Woodhatch in 1936. Neolithic worked flints have been found on Colley Hill. Finds from the Bronze Age include a gold penannular ring, dated to c. 1150 – c. 750 BCE, and a barbed spearhead from Priory Park. The eight barrows on Reigate Heath are thought to date from the same period, when the surrounding area may have been marshland.
During the Roman period, the Doods Road area was a centre for tile making. An excavation in 2014 uncovered the remains of a 2nd- or 3rd-century kiln with several types of tile, identified as tegulae, imbrices and pedales.[note 2] A series of artefacts discovered to the south west of the town centre in 2011, suggest that there was a high-status villa in the area. Coins from the reigns of Vespasian (69-79), Hadrian (117–138), Severus Alexander (222–235) and Arcadius (383-408), indicate that there was Roman activity in the local area throughout the duration of the occupation of Britain.
The former name Cherchefelle suggests that the most recent period of permanent settlement in Reigate began in Anglo-Saxon times. The main settlement is thought to have been located in the area of the parish church, to the east of the modern centre, although much of the population was probably thinly dispersed around the parish. Excavations in Church Street in the late 1970s uncovered a Saxon glass jar and remains of a skeleton of uncertain age, but archaeological evidence from the period elsewhere in the town is sparse.
Reigate appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Cherchefelle. It was held by William the Conqueror, who had assumed the lordship in 1075 on the death of Edith of Wessex, widow of Edward the Confessor. The settlement included two mills worth 11s 10d, land for 29 plough teams,[note 3] woodland and herbage for 140 swine, pasture for 43 pigs and 12 acres (4.9 ha) of meadow. The manor rendered £40 per year in 1086 and the residents included 67 villagers and 11 smallholders. The Domesday Book also records that the town was part of the larger Hundred of Cherchefelle.
The non-corporate Borough of Reigate, covering roughly the town centre, was formed in 1295. It elected two MPs until the Reform Act of 1832 when it lost one. In 1868 Reigate borough was disenfranchised for corruption, but representation was revived in the Redistribution of Seats Act in 1885.
The manor was granted to William de Warenne when he was created Earl of Surrey c. 1090 and under his patronage Reigate began to thrive. The castle was constructed shortly afterwards and the modern town was established to the south in the late 12th century. An Augustinian priory, founded by William de Warenne, is recorded in 1240, and by 1276, a regular market was being held and records describe Reigate as a Borough from 1291. On the death of the seventh Earl, John de Warenne, in 1347, the manor passed to his brother-in-law, Richard Fitzalan, the third Earl of Arundel. In 1580 both Earldoms passed through the female line to Phillip Howard, whose father, Thomas Howard, had forfeited the title of Duke of Norfolk and had been executed for his involvement in the Ridolfi plot to assassinate Elizabeth I. The dukedom was restored to the family in 1660, following the accession of Charles II.
Reforms during the Tudor period reduced the importance of manorial courts and the day-to-day administration of towns such as Reigate became the responsibility of the vestry of the parish church. By the early 17th century, the 5,000-acre (20 km2; 7.8 sq mi) ecclesiastical parish had been divided for administrative purposes into two parts: the Borough of Reigate, which broadly corresponded to the modern town centre and Reigate Foreign, which included the five petty boroughs of Santon, Colley, Woodhatch, Linkfield and Hooley.[note 4] The two parts were reunited in 1863 as a Municipal Borough with a council of elected representatives chaired by a mayor. The Borough was extended in 1933 to include Horley, Merstham, Buckland and Nutfield.
The Local Government Act 1972 created Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, by combining the Reigate Borough with Banstead Urban District and the eastern part of the Dorking and Horley Rural District.[note 5] Since its inauguration in 1974, the council has been based in the Municipal Buildings in Castlefield Road, Reigate.
Reigate Castle was built in the late 11th or early 12th century, most likely by William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey. Taking the form of a motte-and-bailey castle, it was originally constructed of timber, but the curtain walls were rebuilt in stone around a century later. A water-filled moat was dug into the Gault clay on the north side and a dry ditch was excavated around the remainder of the structure. The large size of the motte indicates that the castle was designed both as a fortification and as the lord’s residence from the outset.[note 6]
Following the dissolution of the monasteries, the lords of the manor moved their primary residence to Reigate Priory, to the south of the town. The castle was allowed to decay, with only small outlays recorded in the manor accounts for repairs, until 1686, when the buildings were reported as ruinous. Much of the masonry was most likely removed for local construction projects, but in around 1777, Richard Barnes, who rented the grounds, built a new gatehouse folly using the remaining stone. A century later, the Borough Council was granted a long lease on the property, which had been turned into a public garden.[note 7] Regular tours of the caves beneath the castle are run by the Wealden Cave and Mine Society.
William de Warenne, the fifth Earl of Surrey, is thought to have founded the Augustinian priory at Reigate before his death in 1240.[note 8] Early documents refer to the priory as a hospital, but in 1334 it is described as a convent and thereafter as a purely religious institution. The site on which the priory was built, is to the south of the modern town centre, close to the Wray stream, a tributary of the Wallace Brook, and a series of fish ponds were constructed in the grounds. Although the exact layout is uncertain, the buildings are thought to have been arranged around a central square cloister, with the church on the north side and the refectory on the south. The priory was created as a sub-manor of Reigate and was granted several local farms including one in each of Salford and Horley. It also received the manor of Southwick in West Sussex, which it gave to the Bishop of Winchester in 1335 and to compensate for the loss of income, it was awarded the an annual pension from St Martin's Church in Dorking.[note 9][note 10] At the time of its dissolution in 1536, Reigate Priory was the least wealthy of all the Surrey religious houses.
In 1541, Henry VIII granted the former priory to William Howard, Baron of Effingham, the uncle of Catherine Howard. The old church was converted to a private residence and the majority of the rest of the buildings were demolished.[note 11] In 1615, the estate was inherited by Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Nottingham, who had led the English fleet against the Spanish Armada. On his death in 1624, it became the residence of his widow, Anne St John, and then passed in 1639 to his daughter, Elizabeth, who had married John Mordaunt, 1st Earl of Peterborough. Her grandson, Charles Mordaunt, 3rd Earl of Peterborough, sold the priory to John Parsons the former Lord Mayor of London and one of the MPs for Reigate, in 1681.[note 12]
Richard Ireland, who purchased the priory in 1766 following the death of Humphrey Parsons, is primarily responsible for the appearance of the buildings today. A fire destroyed much of the west wing and Ireland commissioned its rebuilding. He also shortened the length of the east wing from 75 ft (23 m) to 25 ft (7.6 m), so that the house was symmetrical. The walls of the two wings were raised to match the main north range and the Tudor features including the windows were replaced with Georgian fixtures. Finally the south-facing walls were refaced with a cement stucco. Following Ireland's death in 1780, the priory passed through a succession of owners, including Lady Henry Somerset, who remodelled the grounds between 1883 and 1895, creating a sunken garden. Following her death in 1921, the estate was divided for sale and much of the land was purchased for housebuilding.
The final private owner of the house was the racehorse trainer, Peter Beatty, who sold it to the Mutual Property Life and General Insurance Company, which relocated from London for the second half of the Second World War. In 1945, the Borough Council purchased the priory for community use and designated the grounds as Public Open Space. Two years later, the Reigate Priory County Secondary School opened with 140 children aged 13 and 14. In 1963 the boys moved to Woodhatch School and the Priory School continued as an all-girls secondary school. In 1971, the secondary school closed and Holmesdale Middle School, which had been founded in 1852, moved to the priory.
Transport and communicationsEdit
In medieval times, the main road north from Reigate followed Nutley Lane, climbing Colley Hill in the direction of Kingston upon Thames, from where produce and manufactured items could be moved via the River Thames.[note 13][note 14] Although the direct route to London via Merstham had a less severe gradient, it appears to have been little used for the transport of goods. The manor of Reigate was responsible for maintaining the roads in the local area, but repairs were carried out infrequently and improvements were often only funded by private donations.[note 15] In 1555, the responsibility for local infrastructure was transferred to the parish, and separate surveyors were employed for the Borough and for Reigate Foreign. The inefficiency created by this division resulted in frequent complaints and court cases relating to the poor state of the roads and, in 1691, justices of the peace were given the role of appointing the surveyors.
The first turnpike in Surrey was authorised by Parliament in 1697, to improve the road south from Woodhatch towards Crawley. The new road took the form of a bridleway, laid alongside the existing causeway between the River Mole crossing at Sidlow and Horse Hill, and was unsuitable for wheeled vehicles. Repairs were also carried out on the route between Reigate and Woodhatch under the same Act. A second turnpike was authorised in 1755, to improve the route from Sutton to Povey Cross, near Horley, which involved creating a new road north from Reigate over Reigate Hill. A cutting was excavated at the top of the hill, using a battering ram to break up the underlying chalk. The new route was completed the following year and the old road via Nutley Lane was blocked at Colley Hill.[note 16] In 1808, a second turnpike to the north was opened to Purley via Merstham. The new trust was required to pay £200 per year to the owners of the Reigate Hill road, in compensation for lost tolls.
Two significant improvements to the road network in the town centre took place in the early nineteeth century. Firstly, in 1815, the Wray Stream, was culverted improving the drainage and road surface of Bell Street. Secondly, a tunnel, the first road tunnel in England, was constructed at the expense of John Cocks, 1st Earl Somers the lord of the manor. Opened in 1823, it runs beneath the castle and links Bell Street to London Road. It enabled road traffic to bypass the tight curves at the west end of the town centre, but is now only used by pedestrians. The Borough Council became responsible for local roads on its formation in 1865. The final tolls were removed from the turnpikes in 1881.
The railway line through Reigate was constructed by the Reading, Guildford and Reigate Railway and opened in 1849. It was designed to provide an alternative route between the west of England and the Channel ports, and serving intermediate towns was a secondary concern.[note 17]
Economy and commerceEdit
From much of its early history, Reigate was primarily an agricultural settlement. At the time of the Norman conquest, the common fields covered some 3,500 acres (1,400 ha) and in 1623 the total area of arable land was around 4,500 acres (1,800 ha). From the early 17th century, the manor began to specialise in the production of oatmeal for the Royal Navy, possibly due to the influence of Admiral Charles Howard, who lived at the priory.[note 18] By 1710, 11.5% of the population was employed in cereal processing, but the trade dwindled in the mid-18th century and had ceased by 1786.
Reigate has two surviving windmills: a post mill on Reigate Heath and a tower mill on Wray Common. In the medieval period the parish had other windmills, about a dozen animal-powered mills for oatmeal and watermills on the southern parish boundary with the Mole and Redhill Brook.
London is not thought to have become the most important market for produce until the early 18th century and until that date, most goods were traded locally.
Although the opening of the Reigate Hill turnpike in 1755 provided an easier route to transport produce and manufactured items to London, the new road appears initially to have had a negative impact on the local economy, as goods produced elsewhere became cheaper than those made in the town itself. As a result there was little growth in the population in the century to 1821. In the late 18th century, the prosperity of the town began to recover as it became as stopping point on the London to Brighton coaching route.[note 19] In 1793, over half of the traffic on the Reigate Hill turnpike was bound for the south coast and numbers swelled as a result of troop movements during the Napoleonic Wars. The opening of the turnpike through Redhill, appears to have had little initial impact on the numbers travelling through the town, as travellers preferred to break their journeys in Reigate, rather than bypassing the town to the east.
Reigate began to expand following the arrival of the railway lines in the 1840s. Initially development was focused in the east of the parish. A new settlement, initially known as Warwick Town, had become established on land owned by Sarah Greville, Countess of Warwick in the 1820s and 1830s. In 1856, the post office relocated its local branch to the growing village and the area became known as Redhill. Throughout the second half of the 19th century, Redhill expanded eastwards towards the Reigate town centre and the two towns are now contiguous.
A new residential area was established at Wray Park, to the north of Reigate town centre, in the 1850s and 1860s and St Mark's Church was constructed to serve the new community. Doods Road was constructed in around 1864 and Somers Road, to the west of the station, followed shortly afterwards. In 1863, the National Freehold Land Society began to develop the Glovers Field estate, to the south east of the town centre and also led efforts to build houses at South Park, to the west of Woodhatch.
At the end of the 19th century, the estates of several large houses were broken up, releasing further land for development. The Great Doods estate, between the railway line and Reigate Road was sold in 1897 and the first houses in Deerings Road appeared shortly afterwards. A major development occurred in 1921, when the Reigate Priory estate (which included much of the land in the town) was sold, enabling existing leaseholders to purchase the freehold of their properties and freeing up further land for construction.
In the early 20th century, South Park continued to expand to the south and east. The sale of Woodhatch Farm in the 1930s enabled the Borough council to build council houses on the land. Further expansion in Woodhatch occurred in the 1950s, with the development of the Rushetts Farm estate.
National and local governmentEdit
|2013||Dr Zully Grant-Duff||Reigate|
|2013||Barbara Thomson||Earlswood and Reigate South|
Five councillors sit on Reigate and Banstead borough council, who operate a council-elected-in-thirds system, which results in voting for one local candidate in three out of every four years:
|2010||Adam de Save||Reigate Central|
|2011||Steve Farrer||Reigate Central|
|2011||Christopher Whinney||Reigate Central|
|2008||Roger Newstead||Reigate Hill|
|2010||Lisa Brunt||Reigate Hill|
Demography and housingEdit
|Population||Households||% Owned outright||% Owned with a loan||hectares|
|Reigate and Woodhatch||22,123||9,036||34.5||38.5||316|
|Detached||Semi-detached||Terraced||Flats and apartments||Caravans/temporary/mobile homes/houseboats||Shared between households|
|Reigate and Woodhatch||2,487||2,853||1,378||2607||6||9|
Reigate Water Works Company was established in 1858 and it opened a plant on Littleton Lane the following year, to supply drinking water to the town from the Wallace Brook. The Reigate company was purchased by the East Surrey Water in 1896, which closed the Reigate works after extending its mains network to the town from Caterham. The first sewerage system in Reigate was installed in 1876 and included a main outfall sewer running under Bell Street via Woodhatch to the treatment works at Earlswood Common.
Reigate Gas Company was formed in 1838 and opened a works on London Road a year later. Initially it was contracted to supply gas for 28 street lights in the town centre, but by 1860, increasing domestic demand necessitated the opening of a larger facility at the north end of Nutley Lane. In 1921, the Reigate company was taken over by the Redhill Gas Company, which had been formed in 1865.
An electricity generating station was authorised by the Reigate Electric Lighting Order 1897 and constructed in a former sand quarry next to the railway line off Wray Common Road. On opening it had an installed capacity of 230 kW, but by the time of its closure in 1936, the maximum power output had risen to 2.7 MW. Under the Electricity (Supply) Act 1926, Reigate was connected to the National Grid, initially to a 33 kV supply ring, which linked the town to Croydon, Dorking, Epsom and Leatherhead. In 1939, the ring was connected to the Wimbledon-Woking main via a 132 kV substation at Leatherhead.
The Borough police force was founded in 1864 and initially consisted of a superintendent, a sergeant and eight constables. The original police station was in West Street, but was moved to the High Street in around 1866 and to the Municipal Buildings around the turn of the century. A new police station was opened in Reigate Road in 1972, coinciding with the merger of the Borough force with the Surrey Constabulary.
In 1809, two fire engines were presented to the vestry, which was charged with appointing a group of six men to operate it when needed. The brigade was expanded to 12 members in 1854. In 2021, the fire authority for Reigate is Surrey County Council and the statutory fire service is Surrey Fire and Rescue Service. The Ambulance Community Response Post, located at the fire station, is run by the South East Coast Ambulance Service.
At one time the airline Air Europe had its head office in Europe House in Reigate. Redland plc the FTSE 100 building materials company was headquartered in Reigate before its acquisition by Lafarge. The insurance company Esure is in the former Redland headquarters, and the Redland brick sculpture remains in front of the building.
The European headquarters of Kimberly-Clark are on London Road in the town, just south of Reigate railway station. Further along London Road towards the town centre can be found the former European headquarters of Willis Towers Watson, prior to the merger with Willis where the global and British headquarters relocated to Lime Street in London in front of which is a life-size bronze of Margot Fonteyn and a huge picturesque cedar tree.
Reigate is home to Pilgrim Brewery, which moved to its West Street address in 1984. It was the first new brewery to be established in Surrey for over a century and whose beers are brewed using the local water.
Reigate is linked by a number of bus routes to Redhill and the surrounding towns and villages in east Surrey. Operators serving the town include Compass Bus, London General, Metrobus and Southdown. Routes 420 and 460 link the town to the East Surrey Hospital and the latter also runs to Gatwick Airport.
Reigate railway station is a short distance to the north of the town centre and is managed by Southern. The operator runs services to London Victoria via Redhill and East Croydon. Trains to Reading via Guildford and to Gatwick Airport via Redhill are run by Great Western Railway.
The Surrey Cycleway passes through Woodhatch.
The Greensand Way, a 174 km (108 mi) long-distance footpath from Haslemere, Surrey to Hamstreet, Kent, passes through Reigate Park to the south of the town centre. The North Downs Way, between Farnham and Dover, runs from west to east across Colley Hill and Reigate Hill.
There are several primary schools in Reigate. Dovers Green School and Wray Common Primary School are members of the Greensand Multi-Academy Trust. Sandcross Primary School is part of the Everychild Trust.
Reigate Priory Junior School traces its origins to a non-denominational school, founded in 1852 in the High Street. It moved to Holmesdale Road in the 1860s and in 1993 moved to the priory taking over the classrooms previously used by Reigate Priory Middle School. The school educates children between the ages of 7 and 11 and is due to move to new premises on Cockshott Hill in 2023.
The Royal Alexandra and Albert School traces its origins to an orphanage for children of Dissenters, founded in Hoxton, London in 1759. The orphanage expanded rapidly and by 1769 had 28 boys and 25 girls between the ages of 6 and 9 in its care. It relocated several times during the following two centuries and, in 1943 it was renamed the Royal Alexandra School and was based on a 180-acre (73 ha) site at Duxhurst, near Salfords. A separate institution, the Royal Albert Orphan Asylum was founded near Bagshot in 1864 and admitted its first 100 children in December of that year. It was renamed the Royal Albert School in 1942. The management of the Royal Alexandra and the Royal Albert Schools was merged in 1948 and the new organisation purchased the Gatton Park Estate. The following year, an Act of Parliament was passed to formally amalgamate the two institutions. Boarding accommodation was constructed at Gatton Park in 1950 and pupils were relocated from the Bagshot and Duxhurst sites in stages between 1948 and 1954. Today, the Royal Alexandra and Albert School is a coeducational maintained boarding school, educating 1125 children between the ages of 7 and 18.
Reigate College is a coeducational sixth form college for students aged 16 to 19. It opened in 1976 on Castlefield Road, to the east of the town centre. The main building, constructed in 1927, was previously occupied by the Reigate County School for Girls and was designed by the architecture firm Jarvis and Porter.
Micklefield School was founded in 1910 and takes its name from its original location, Micklefield House in Evesham Road. It moved to its current site in Somers Road, to the north of the town centre, in 1925. In 2021, Micklefield is a coeducational, independent day school for children aged 2 to 11.
Reigate St Mary's School was founded in 1950 as the choir school for St Mary's Church. Initially for boys only, it became coeducational in 2003, when it was made the principal feeder school for Reigate Grammar School. In 2021, Reigate St Mary's is a coeducational day school for children aged 2 to 11.
Reigate Grammar School traces its origins to 1675, when Henry Smith, an Alderman of the City of London, left a bequest of £150 for the purchase of land for a "free school". The first master, Revd John Williamson, was the vicar of Reigate and for the first two centuries, several headmasters were also parish priests. The school became a grammar school in 1861 and around this time many of the original buildings were replaced. The school was taken over by Surrey County Council under the Education Act 1944, but became independent in 1976. In the same year, girls were admitted to the sixth form and the school became fully coeducational in 1993. It merged with Reigate St Mary's Prep School and Chinthurst School in 2003 and 2017 and, as of 2021, the three school together educate around 1,500 pupils aged from 3 to 18. An international division was created in 2017, to work in partnership with the Kaiyuan Education Fund, to establish up to five schools in China.
Dunottar School was founded in 1926 and is named after Dunottar Castle in Aberdeenshire, where the Scottish Crown Jewels were kept between 1651 and 1660. In 1933, the school moved to its current site, the former High Trees house, which had been built in 1867. In 2021, Dunottar is a co-educational independent day school for children aged 11 to 18. It became part of United Learning in 2014.
Reigate Valley College at Sidlow just south of the town is a former pupil referral unit that educates pupils that have had behavioral issues in mainstream schools. There are two special schools in the town catering for students with special educational needs, Brooklands School on Wray Park Road and Moon Hall College at Flanchford Bridge near Leigh.
Places of worshipEdit
Church of St Mary MagdaleneEdit
The first record of a church at Reigate is from the 12th century, when the church of Crechesfeld was presented to the Priory of St Mary Overie by Hamelin and Isabel de Warenne, the Earl and Countess of Surrey. At the timeof the gift, the church is thought to have consisted of a nave, chancel and possibly a central tower and the oldest parts of St Mary's Church date fromc. 1200. The building was extended several times in the late-medieval period, including the additions of the north and south aisles in the mid-late 13th century, the south chancel chapel in the 14th century and the relocation of the tower to the west end in the first half of the 15th century. Two phases of significant reconstruction took place in Victorian times. In 1845, the architect, Henry Woodyer, was responsible for renewing the local Reigate Stone walls and, in 1874-7, George Gilbert Scott Jr. installed new roofing and refaced the tower in Bath Stone.
The medieval rood screen, separating the chancel from the nave, was restored by Woodyer, who was also responsible for much of the current stained glass. There are several 17th- and 18th-century monuments inside the church, the largest of which a memorial to Richard Labroke (d. 1730) who is depicted in Roman dress, flanked by the figures of Justice and Truth.
Reigate Mill ChurchEdit
Reigate Heath Windmill was built c. 1765 and was last worked by wind in 1862. The weatherboarded upper section of the post mill holds the sails and sits above the brick roundhouse below. The roundhouse was converted into a chapel of ease to the Church of St Mary Magdalen in 1880 and services are held in the building during the summer months. It is thought to be the only windmill to be used as a church in England.
Reigate Heath ChurchEdit
Reigate Heath Church, on Flanchford Road, was built in 1907 as a chapel of ease to St Mary Magdalen. It is constructed from corrugated galvanised iron and is typical of the tin tabernacles, built around the same time.
St Mark's ChurchEdit
St Mark's Church, in Alma Road, was opened in 1860 to serve a new area of housing, under construction to the north of the railway station. It was designed by the architects firm, Field & Hilton, and is built in Reigate Stone.  The tower and spire were added in 1863, but the spire was demolished in 1919. The church was heavily damaged during the Second World War, necessitating the demolition of the south transept. Most of the windows were destroyed by bomb blasts and a new East Window, designed by Francis Spear, was installed in 1955.
St Philip's ChurchEdit
St Philip's Church, to the north west of the town centre, was built in 1863, originally as a chapel of ease to St Mark's Church.  The pulpit dates from 1898 and the reredos was installed in 1919. Following the First World War, the east end of the church was reordered to raise the floor level and the chancel was enlarged into the nave in 1957.
St Luke's ChurchEdit
St Luke's Church, to the south of the town, was opened in 1871. It is constructed from Reigate Stone and is built in the Gothic style. The west end was damaged during a storm in the 1960s and the affected wall was replaced by a clear-glazed window. The church was extended to the west, with the addition of an annex, which provides accommodation for the Winter Night Shelter.
Reigate Methodist ChurchEdit
Although John Wesley visited four times between 1770 and 1775. the first Methodist chapel was not established in Reigate until 1858. The current church, in the High Street, was built in 1884.
Catholic Church of the Holy FamilyEdit
The Catholic Church of the Holy Family was built in Yorke Road, on land donated by a local benefactor. It was consecrated in 1939. A mass centre was established in a wooden building in Woodhatch, but was closed in 2003 after almost 50 years of use.
Reigate Priory Museum holds an early-16th century portrait of John Lymden, the final Prior of Reigate. The Town Hall holds several artworks, including paintings by Henry Tanworth Wells (1828—1903), George Leon Little (1862—1941) and George Hooper (1910—1994). Landscapes depicting scenes of the Reigate area by the artists Alfred Walter Williams (1823—1905), James Thomas Linnell (1826—1905) and Albert Ernest Bottomley (1873—1950) are held by Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, the Royal Pavillion and Museums Trust, Brighton, and Derby Museum and Art Gallery respectively. Among the works of public art in the town is a statue of the ballet dancer, Margot Fonteyn, by the artist Nathan David, which was installed at the south end of London Road in 1980.[note 20]
Reigate is the setting for the Sherlock Holmes short story The Adventure of the Reigate Squire (also known as The Adventure of the Reigate Squires and The Adventure of the Reigate Puzzle). It is one of 12 stories featured in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Sport and leisureEdit
The town has facilities for sports:
- Lawn Tennis
- Football (with National League System clubs at different grounds):South Park F.C. and Reigate Priory F.C..
- Cricket: Reigate Priory CC
- Rugby: Reigate Rugby Club Old Reigatian Rugby Football Club
A local council leisure-centre is on the border with Redhill. A number of private gyms/studios exist, one of which is not in the town centre.
Three golf courses are within the town's boundaries. One of these covers the east of the village of Gatton.
Notable buildings and landmarksEdit
The Cranston Library was opened in 1701 and is the oldest public lending library in England. It was intended primarily for the use of the clergy of the Archdeaconry of Ewell, its remit was expanded in 1708, to maintain a collection of books "for the use and perusal of the Freeholders, Vicar and Inhabitants" of Reigate Parish "and of the Gentlemen and Clergymen inhabiting parts thereunto adjacent." The library is named after its founder, Andrew Cranston, Vicar of Reigate from 1697 to 1708, and is housed on the first floor of the vestry of the Church of St Mary Magdalene. The collection includes over 2000 books, most of which date from the 17th and 18th centuries.
Old Town HallEdit
The Old Town Hall at the east end of the High Street was constructed in around 1728. It was built on the site of a chapel, dedicated to St Thomas Becket that was existence before 1330. Following the Reformation, the chapel became a market house. It was demolished in around 1785 and was replaced by the current red brick structure. The building served as the headquarters of Reigate Municipal Borough Council from its formation in 1863 until the borough council moved to the new town hall in Castlefield Road in 1901.
Reigate Fort, on Reigate Hill, is one of 13 London Defence Positions, built in the 1890s. They were primarily designed as infantry redoubts, to be used in the event of an invasion by the French. The Reigate Fort was completed in 1898 and is one of the largest in the 72 mi (116 km) defensive line. It was defended by an earth rampart and had a clear view south over Reigate. Among the surviving buildings is a magazine, which would have been used for storing ammunition. Reigate Fort was declared redundant in 1907 and the land was sold. During the First World War, it was used as an ammunition store and is thought to have been used as a communications station for the British Army South East Command in the Second World War. The fort was restored in the early 2000s and is open to the public.
Reigate Hill FootbridgeEdit
Reigate Hill Footbridge carries the North Downs Way over the A217 to the north of the town. It was completed in 1910 and has a span of 97 ft (30 m). It was built using the Hennebique method of construction and is one of the earliest reinforced concrete bridges in England. It replaced an earlier chain suspension bridge, which was built in 1825.
Wray Common WindmillEdit
Wray Common Windmill was built in 1824 and is to the northeast of the town centre. It is a tower mill constructed of tarred bricks with a metal cap. The mill was used to grind corn until 1895, when it became an agricultural store. It was converted into a four-storey private residence in the 1960s. The building underwent a programme of restoration between 2004 and 2007, which included the installation of new, non-functioning sails.
- John Foxe (1516/17-1587) - martyrologist, worked at Reigate Castle as tutor to the Earl of Surrey’s children c. 1548-1559
- John Parsons (1639-1717) - businessman and politician, Lord Mayor of London in 1703, lived at Reigate Priory from 1681 until his death
- Ann Alexander (1774/5-1861) - banker, lived for much of her life in Reigate
- George William Alexander (1802-1890) - banker, philanthopist, son of Ann Alexander, lived at Woodhatch from 1853 until his death
- William Harrison Ainsworth (1805-1882) - historical novelist, lived at Reigate for the latter part of his life
- George Luxford (1807-1854) - botanist, lived in Reigate until 1834, published Flora of the Neighbourhood of Reigate in 1838
- Anne Manning (1807-1879) - novelist, lived at Reigate Hill from 1850 to 1878
- James Cudworth (1817-1899) - railway engineer, lived in Reigate from 1879-1899
- Francis Frith (1822-1898) - photographer, founded his publishing company in Reigate in 1860
- Edward Frankland (1825-1899) - organometallic chemist, set up his own independent laboratory on Reigate Hill in 1885
- Margaret Crosfield (1859-1952) - geologist, lived for the majority of her life in the town
- Fred Streeter (1879-1975) - horticulturalist and broadcaster, took his first job at Reigate Hill at the age of 12 and worked in the town until 1897
- H. M. Bateman (1887-1970) - cartoonist and illustrator, lived in Reigate for 14 years from 1918
- Cliff Michelmore (1919-2016) - broadcaster, lived in Reigate for much of his working life
- Ray Alan (1930-2010) - ventriloquist and writer, lived in Reigate towards the end of his life
- The name "Wray Common" is thought to derive from the Old English (at)theree meaning "(at) the stream".
- Roman tiles originating from Reigate have been found in London. It is probable that ceramics were transported to markets in Londinium via Stane Street or the London to Brighton Way to the west and east of the town. The nearest points on the two Roman roads to the Doods Road tilery are around 9 km (5.6 mi) distant.
- Each plough team was capable of cultivating 120 acres (49 ha) per year, giving a total area of 3,480 acres (14.1 km2; 5.44 sq mi) of arable land in Reigate in 1086.
- The division of Reigate parish into two distinct administrative areas is unusual among Surrey towns.
- Buckland and Nutfield were transferred to Mole Valley and Tandridge Districts respectively.
- Local legend says that prior to the signing of the Magna Carta, the rebellious barons met to hammer out the details of the document in the extensive caves beneath the castle. The story however has no truth to it.
- In late Victorian times, the field to the east of the castle was used as a cricket pitch. A new road, Castlefield Road, was constructed over the field and the Municipal Buildings were built on the west side, opening in 1901.
- The fifth Earl's parents, Hamelin and Isabel de Warenne had previously presented Reigate Church to the Augustinian Priory of St Mary Overie in Southwark.
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