Reigate is a historic market
town in Surrey, England at the foot
of the North
Downs, and in the London
commuter belt. It is one of the main constituents of the
Borough of Reigate and
Banstead. Reigate and the adjacent town of Redhill form a single urban area.
Colley Hill, one mile (1.6 km) north of Reigate, is the sixth
highest point in Surrey at . Reigate Hill, to the east of Colley
Hill, is the seventh highest point in Surrey at .
Kiln fire channel
There are neolithic flint
mines on the ridge of the North Downs above
Reigate. The Bronze Age
Reigate Heath indicate there was ancient settlement in the area. A
Bronze Age spearhead was recovered on Park Hill in Reigate Priory
Park.In 2004 a circa 92 AD Roman tile kiln (pictured left) was
recovered from the grounds of Rosehill in Doods Way, Reigate. Being
geologically suited, this was only one of a series of tile kilns in
the area. The tiles would have been used for important buildings in
London. The Rosehill find is the oldest recorded use of Reigate
Stone (Upper Greensand
) for "ashlar
lay within the Reigate hundred, an Anglo-Saxon administrative
Reigate appears in Domesday Book
in 1086 as Cherchefelle
which appears to mean 'the open space by the hill'. (The name has
nothing to do with the church and the element Cherche is a later
corruption). It was held by William the Conqueror
. Its Domesday
assets were: 34 hide
. It had 2 mill
worth 11s 10s, 29 ploughs
, of meadow
and herbage worth 183 hog
. It rendered £40.
The earlier site was located, at least in part, in what is now the
Church Street area of Reigate. Part of the site was excavated in
the 1970s. It was shown that the settlement moved during the
earlier part of the 12th century when the present new town was
formed. William I
land around Reigate to one of his supporters, William de Warenne
who was created Earl of Surrey
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 in Lewes, Sussex, as
well as castles in Yorkshire and Normandy.
1150 the de Warennes ordered that a town be constructed 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 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 demolished, 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
The medieval town is centred on a north—south road of some
antiquity as it incorporates the pre-Conquest road pattern.
of the Pilgrim's
Way passing through Reigate is a myth, although the
travellers did come down from their route to use the town as a
In the 13th century a chapel to St Thomas
was built in the town centre for
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. Much of the High Street appears to be later
although there appear to have been buildings along the south side
of the Street near to the junction with Bell Street by the 13th
century at the latest. The north side of the High Street may not
have been built up until the castle fell out of use. The market
place was originally around Slipshoe Street, at the junction of
West Street, but became encroached upon by infilled houses and it
was moved to the east end of the High Street by the end of the 16th
century. The results of much of this work has been published; many
of the finds are held in the museum of the Holmesdale Natural
History Club in Croydon Road.
Probably early in the 13th century Reigate Priory was founded for
regular Canons of the Order of St
. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1535 the
estate was granted by Henry
to William Howard,
1st Baron Howard of Effingham
, who may have 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
, lived there until
their heirs sold it to the wealthy London brewer, John Parsons in
1681. Remains of the former monastery buildings are known to 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
The coming of the Brighton railway in 1841 led to a rapid expansion
of the parish, concentrated around the railway station in an area
that was previously uninhabited.
The old (non corporate) Borough of Reigate (roughly the town centre
of Reigate) elected two MPs until the Reform Act of 1832 when it
lost one. Further amendments to the electoral boundary occurred. In
1863, the whole parish was formally incorporated as the Borough of
Reigate with Thomas Dann as its first Mayor.
Reigate has two windmills
: the Post mill at
and the tower
mill at Wray Common
- Reigate is served by Reigate
railway station. During peak times direct trains run to
London Victoria and also London Bridge in 40 minutes. Off peak trains run to
Airport, Reading, Redhill and (with a new service) London Charing
- Reigate is a few minutes from Junction 8 of
the London orbital motorway M25. The
town's one-way system includes part
of the A217.
- Ray Alan, ventriloquist (and Lord
- Joey Benjamin, former England
cricketer lives in Reigate
- George Best, Manchester United and
Ireland football player lived his last years near Reigate.
- Roger Bisby, Journalist, television
presenter and radio personality.
- Hermann Bondi, the Austrian
Physicist and mathematician lived in Reigate in the 1970s.
- Charlie, a parrot whose owner claims was taught by Sir Winston Churchill to curse Adolf Hitler
- Tom and Max
Chilton, racing drivers, born and live in Reigate.
- Fatboy Slim, DJ, also known as
Norman Cook, real name Quentin Cook, born in Reigate and attended
Reigate Grammar School.
- Newton Faulkner, songwriter and
musician, was born here.
- Dame Margot Fonteyn, ballet
dancer, was born here.
- Francis Frith, the prolific
photographer, 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.
- Kate Maberly, actress and star of
the 1993 feature film The Secret
Garden, was born here.
- Ian McKay (formerly Laidlaw),
art critic, writer and publisher, lived here and attended Reigate
School of Art & Design.
- Ray Mears, survival expert,
studied at Reigate Grammar School.
- Jean Metcalfe, broadcaster
- Cliff Michelmore,
- Spike Milligan, writer and
comedian, used to live in Woodhatch in Meadow Way.
- Alan Minter, the former Undisputed
World Middleweight boxing champion, currently lives in
- Nicholas Owen, BBC
News presenter, currently lives in Reigate.
- Samuel Palmer, visionary British
artist, is buried in Reigate St Mary's churchyard, having lived in
Reigate from about 1860-1862.
- Pat Pocock, former England and Surrey cricketer, currently lives in
- André Previn and his then wife
Mia Farrow, used to live in Leigh in the
early nineteen eighties.
- Caroline Quentin, actress, was
born in Reigate.
- Mike Sammes, of the Mike Sammes
Singers was born in the town and educated at Reigate Grammar School
- Richard Thomas, the
Commissioner currently lives in Reigate
- David Walliams, writer and star
of the Little Britain comedy
series attended Reigate Grammar School
Reigate has several churches. St Mary's Parish
, with its chapel of
ease, St Cross
and Reigate Methodist
are located in the town
centre. Reigate Baptist
, Reigate Park
, Sandcross Church
Reigate and Redhill Community Church are slightly further out. The
Family Catholic Church
is the only Catholic Church in
- W. Hooper. Reigate; its story through the ages. 1945
- J. Greenwood. Turnpikes and the economy: the case of