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|
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.
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.
There are neolithic flint mines on the ridge of the North Downs above Reigate. Bronze Age settlement in the area is indicated by barrows on Reigate Heath. A Bronze Age spearhead was recovered on Park Hill in Reigate Priory Park. In 2004 a Roman tile kiln, dated from around AD 92 (pictured left), was recovered from the grounds of Rosehill in Doods Way. Tiles on the Rosehill site were first discovered in the 1880s. The tiles would have been used for important buildings in the area. The Rosehill find is the oldest recorded use of Reigate stone (ironstone of the Upper Greensand) for ashlar work.
Reigate was within the Reigate hundred, an Anglo-Saxon administrative division. Reigate appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Cherchefelle, which appears to mean "the open space by the hill". It was held by William the Conqueror as successor to King Harold's widow Editha. Its Domesday assets were: 34 hides, 2 mills worth 11s 10d, 29 ploughs, 12 acres (49,000 m2) of meadow, pannage and herbage worth 183 hogs. It rendered £40 per year to its feudal system overlords.
The earlier site of the town was, at least in part, in what is now the Church Street area. Part of the site was excavated in the 1990s, and this revealed that the settlement moved during the earlier part of the 12th century when the present town was formed. William I granted the land around Reigate to one of his supporters, William de Warenne, who was created Earl of Surrey in 1088. It is believed that his son, William de Warenne, 2nd Earl of Surrey, ordered that Reigate Castle be built, although the de Warennes had their southern base at Lewes, Sussex, as well as castles in Yorkshire and Normandy. Around 1150 the Earl de Warenne laid out a new town below the castle. This town forms the basis of modern-day Reigate. Little is known of the castle, which has never been excavated on any great scale. 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. The castle later fell into decay and the remains were demolished at the end of the 17th century, though the grounds remain as a public garden, and the caves are occasionally opened for tours.
The origin of the name Reigate is uncertain, but appears to derive from Roe-deer Gate, as the town was situated near to the entrance to the de Warenne's deer park. Another possibility is that Reigate derives from an old English phrase roughly translating to the River's Course.
The medieval town is centred on a north–south road of some antiquity as it incorporates the pre-Conquest road pattern. The story of the Pilgrim's Way passing through Reigate is a myth, although in the 13th century a chapel to St Thomas was built in the town centre for use by Canterbury pilgrims.
Areas of the town have been the subject of extensive archaeological investigation. Bell Street was certainly in existence by the middle of the 12th century and Mesolithic implements have been found here. Much of High Street is of slightly later date, although there appear to have been buildings along its south side, near to the junction with Bell Street, by the 13th century at the latest. The market place was originally around Slipshoe Street, at the junction of West Street, but infilled houses encroached on it and it had been moved to the east end of the High Street by the end of the 16th century. Many of the finds from the excavations are held in the museum of the Holmesdale Natural History Club in Croydon Road.
Probably early in the 13th century Grade I listed Reigate Priory was founded for regular canons of the Order of St Augustine, although it was also a hospital under the canons. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1535 the estate was granted by Henry VIII to William Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham, who soon converted the priory buildings into a residence. The Effingham branch of the Howard family, including the Earl of Nottingham (who as Lord High Admiral commanded the force which defeated the Spanish Armada), lived there until their heirs sold it to the wealthy London brewer, Sir John Parsons, in 1681. Remains of the former monastery buildings lie beneath the lawns to the south of the present mainly 18th-century house, which is now used as a school.
The town developed a large trade in oatmeal during the 16th century but this had ceased by about 1720. There was a noted tannery at Linkfield Street which was expanded in the 19th century. It burnt down about 1930.
The coming of the London and Brighton Railway in 1841 led to new buildings being built across the parish, resulting in a second town in the eastern fields around the railway station in an area that was previously uninhabited: this town at first had two names, one confusingly being Warwick Town, but since the early 20th century it has been called Redhill.
Reigate has two 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.
- Administrative history
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 1863 the whole parish was formally incorporated as a borough with Thomas Dann as its first mayor. In 1867 Redhill gained its first of two vestry committees within the parish system that occupied the east of Reigate. In 1868 Reigate borough was disenfranchised for corruption but representation was revived in the Redistribution of Seats Act in 1885. Reigate has been the term for the local MP's seat ever since. In 1974 the borough was merged with Banstead to the north.
|2013||Dr Zully Grant-Duff||Reigate|
|2013||Barbara Thomson||Earlswood and Reigate South|
5 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|
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 neighbourhoods
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.
Half of this hamlet is within the post town, being in the far south west of Reigate. It is connected by Flanchford Bridge to Little Flanchford, which is in Mole Valley, within the rural definition of Leigh which has its village centre 0.5 miles (0.80 km) south-west.
Its proximity to Reigate and to the out-of-town shopping parade of Woodhatch means that South Park consists of residential and recreational green spaces. The main amenities squarely within it are South Park Sports Association and an independent church.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Woodhatch.|
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. Spike Milligan lived in Orchard Way here between fighting as a young man in World War II. 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 contains 2 schools. Reigate School (formally Woodhatch School) and Dover's Green Infant School. Sandcross Primary School is located in nearby South Park.
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.
Culture and community
Priory Park adjoins Reigate Priory School directly south of the High Street and west of Bell Street. It has a recreation area for smaller children as well as football fields, tennis courts, a skatepark, woodland and large Priory Pond, draining over a small weir. The café (in the 'Pistachios In The Park' chain) is contained in a building named the Pavilion, which also houses the park office and bulletin boards.
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.
Reigate is served by Reigate railway station. There are direct trains to London Victoria at 30-minute intervals. Trains also run to Gatwick Airport, Reading, and Redhill. Trains to London are run by the Southern Railway company and those to Gatwick Airport and Reading by Great Western Railway.
Located in Priory Park in the town centre, Reigate Priory School serves the town's three remaining infant schools. It has the distinction in the primary sector of having a large proportion of male teaching staff. Wray Common Primary School is the remaining primary school, situated on the north-eastern side of the town.
The town is home to one of Surrey's sixth form colleges - Reigate College - which is fed from The Warwick School in Redhill, Oakwood School, Horley, The Beacon School in Banstead and Reigate School. Students also apply from schools as far away as Croydon and Crawley. The other state secondary school in the town is The Royal Alexandra and Albert School which is a voluntary aided school with a sixth form. Dunottar School and Reigate Grammar School are the two co-educational independent schools in the town.
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 worship
Reigate has several churches. St Mary's Parish Church (Anglican) is in Chart Lane east of the town centre with its notably old chapel of ease St Cross in the windmill on Reigate Heath (see 'Flanchford' below). Reigate Methodist Church is in the town centre. Reigate Baptist Church, Reigate Park URC, Sandcross Church, and Reigate and Redhill Community Church are further out. The Holy Family Catholic Church is the only Roman Catholic Church in Reigate. The Religious Society of Friends have a meeting house on Reigate Road (Thomas Moore House) and St Philips Church on Nutley Lane.
Sport and leisure
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.
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- James Cudworth, locomotive superintendent to the South Eastern Railway lived in Reigate from c. 1879 to 1899.
- Cherith Baldry, author of the Warriors novels
- Guy and Howard Lawrence, together as a band known under the alias Disclosure, both born and live in Reigate.
- Bob Doe, Royal Air Force wing commander
- Mia Farrow, film actress, lived here while married to André Previn.
- Newton Faulkner, songwriter and musician, was born here.
- Dame Margot Fonteyn, ballet dancer, was born here.
- Louise Fribo, dancer, has a flat here.
- Francis Frith, photographer and businessman, lived here.
- Susan Gritton, opera singer, was born here in 1965.
- Melvyn Hayes, aka Gloria in It Ain't Half Hot Mum was a resident of Glovers Road.
- William Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Effingham, is buried here.
- Gilbert Walter King OBE, judge of the British Supreme Court for China, retired to Reigate.
- Andy Laws, cricketer
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- Kate Maberly, actress and star of the 1993 feature film The Secret Garden, was born here and attended Dunottar School.
- Ian McKay (formerly Laidlaw), art critic, writer and publisher, lived here and attended Reigate School of Art & Design.
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- Spike Milligan, writer and comedian, used to live at Woodhatch in Orchard Way.
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article "Reigate".|