Reigate (/ˈrɡt/ RY-gate) is a town of over 20,000 inhabitants in eastern Surrey, England. It is in the London commuter belt and one of three 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.


Reigate Old Town Hall
Location within Surrey
Population21,820 (electoral definition) or 22,123 (Built-up Area)[1]
OS grid referenceTQ2649
 London19.1 mi (30.7 km) N by NE
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townREIGATE
Postcode districtRH2
Dialling code01737
AmbulanceSouth East Coast
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament

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 Domesday Book in 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.[2]

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[3] that prior to the signing of the Magna Carta, the rebellious barons met to hammer out the details of the document in the extensive[4] 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.[5]

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.[3] Another possibility is that Reigate derives from Rhie-gat, roughly translating to the River's Course.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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[11] 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 but since the early 20th century 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.[12]

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.[13] 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.


Reigate has two of the 81 Surrey County Council representatives, elected every four years: [14]



2013 Dr Zully Grant-DuffReigate
2013 Barbara ThomsonEarlswood 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 SaveReigate Central
2011 Steve FarrerReigate Central
2011 Christopher WhinneyReigate Central
2008 Roger NewsteadReigate Hill
2010 Lisa BruntReigate Hill

Reigate has an eponymous parliamentary constituency and is represented by Crispin Blunt of the Conservative Party.


The town centre is, save for the castle, focused on Bell Street, leading south, and a long High Street/West Street conservation area[16] 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.[17]

Hamlets and neighbourhoods

In the winding lanes of the south-west of Reigate post town, towards the Mole Valley, are two distinct hamlets, Skimmington and Flanchford.


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.[18] 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,[19] 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.[20]


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.[20]

Flanchford Mill, which has as its millpond a lake at the foot of the Wallace Brook, is a Grade II* listed building dating from 1768.[21]

South Park

This Reigate neighbourhood is south of the relatively central Priory Park (named after the town's repurposed Priory), west of Meadvale and north and north-west of Woodhatch.

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.[22][23]


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.[24] Spike Milligan lived in Orchard Way here between fighting as a young man in World War II.[25] 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 is almost half of one of the wards, South Park and Woodhatch which has a population on 7,145.[26]

Woodhatch contains 2 schools. Reigate School (formally Woodhatch School) and Dover's Green Infant School. Sandcross Primary School is located in nearby South Park.

Neighbouring settlements


At one time the airline Air Europe had its head office in Europe House in Reigate.[27] 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.

Canon UK have their headquarters on the southern outskirts of Reigate.[28] The building, opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2000, has won numerous design and 'green' awards.[28][29]

The European headquarters of Kimberly-Clark are on London Road in the town, just south of Reigate railway station.[30] 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 [31] 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.[32] 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.


Reigate is served by Reigate railway station. At peak times a few direct trains run to London Victoria and London Bridge at 40-minute intervals. Off-peak trains run to Gatwick Airport, Reading, Redhill and London Bridge. Trains to London are run by the Southern Railway company and those to Gatwick Airport and Reading by Great Western Railway.

Reigate is a few minutes from Junction 8 of the London orbital M25 motorway. The town's one-way system includes parts of the A25 and the A217.

Reigate is linked to Redhill by the Metrobus. Other bus routes also link the town to other areas in and around Redhill and Reigate.[33]


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.[34] Wray Common Primary School is the remaining primary school, situated on the north-eastern side of the town.

In the independent sector, Reigate St Mary's School is the prep school for Reigate Grammar School.

Secondary schools

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 schools in the town are St Bede's School and The Royal Alexandra and Albert School - both are voluntary aided schools and have their own sixth form. Dunottar School and Reigate Grammar School are the two co-educational independent schools in the town.

Other schools

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.[35] 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).[36] Reigate Methodist Church is in the town centre.[37] Reigate Baptist Church,[38] Reigate Park URC,[39] Sandcross Church, and Reigate and Redhill Community Church[40] are further out. The Holy Family Catholic Church is the only Roman Catholic Church in Reigate.[41] 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:

A local council leisure-centre is on the border with Redhill.[46] 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 people

Notable pets

See also


  2. Brayley, Edward (1850). A topographical history of Surrey. 4. London: G Willis. p. 218. OCLC 4601837.
  3. Reigate and Banstead Borough Council: A Brief History of Reigate Archived 2007-10-12 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Old Reigate". Archived from the original on 31 January 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  5. "Reigate Caves". Wealden Cave & Mine Society. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  6. Camden, William (1637). Britain, or A chorographicall description of the most flourishing kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the ilands adjoyning, out of the depth of antiquitie beautified vvith mappes of the severall shires of England: vvritten first in Latine by William Camden Clarenceux K. of A. Translated newly into English by Philémon Holland Doctour in Physick: finally, revised, amended, and enlarged with sundry additions by the said author. F.K.R.T and I.L. p. 296.
  7. Wright, Christopher (1971). A Guide to the Pilgrims' Way. London: Constable. p. 134. ISBN 0-09-456240-7.
  8. English Heritage. SMR
  9. Hooper . Reigate; its story through the ages
  10. Historic England. "REIGATE PRIORY, Reigate and Banstead (1188089)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  11. Greenwood,J. Turnpikes and the economy. 2008
  12. Farries and Mason. Mills of Surrey
  13. A Vision of Britain: First mention of Redhill, units and statistics Archived 2015-01-07 at the Wayback Machine University of Portsmouth and others
  14. "List of County Councillors". Surrey County Council. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  15. Reigate and Banstead councillors Archived 2013-09-23 at the Wayback Machine
  16. "Conservation Area Map" (PDF). Reigate and Banstead Borough Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 May 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1029061)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  19. Bowl barrows on Reigate Heath:Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1008849)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
    Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1008851)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
    Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1008852)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
    Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1008857)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
    Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1008869)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
    Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1008871)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
    Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1008872)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  20. "OpenStreetMap". OpenStreetMap. Archived from the original on 28 August 2004. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  21. Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1029111)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  22. Archived 2013-12-13 at the Wayback Machine Sandcross Lane Church, Reigate. Retrieved 2013-11-20
  23. Status of Sandcross Lane Church Archived 2013-12-13 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2013-11-20
  24. "Home - Reigate School". Archived from the original on 25 March 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  25. "Mussolini; His part in my downfall", Spike Milligan (1980) Penguin Books
  26. "Local statistics - Office for National Statistics". Archived from the original on 4 June 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  27. "World Airline Directory". Flight International. 26 July 1980. 274 Archived 2012-11-04 at the Wayback Machine. "Head Office: Europe House, Bancroft Road, Reigate, Surrey, Great Britain."
  28. "Canon UK". Canon. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  29. "Richmond in Surrey David Richmond + Partners' headquarters building for Canon in Reigate draws inspiration from an existing Regency villa to create a contemporary office complex with classical proport". Architects' Journal. 9 March 2000. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  30. "Locations". Kimberly Clark. Archived from the original on 1 January 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  31. "Benefits Practice Summer Intern". Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  32. Seymour, Jenny (11 November 2013). "Reigate's Pilgrim Brewery comes of age after 30-year battle for survival". Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  33. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 March 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  34. Murray, Janet (30 March 2009). "The primary school with 15 male teachers". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  35. "South East Surrey Short Stay School becomes Reigate Valley College". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  36. "Home". Archived from the original on 11 April 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  37. "Reigate Methodist Church". Archived from the original on 7 March 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  38. "Reigate Baptist Church". Archived from the original on 19 April 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  39. "Home - Reigate Park Church". Reigate Park Church. Archived from the original on 25 January 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  40. "Reigate and Redhill Community Church". Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  41. "Holy Family Church, Reigate". Archived from the original on 12 November 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  42. Reigate Lawn Tennis Club Archived 2013-10-30 at the Wayback Machine Pitchero sports listings
  43. [ Reigate Priory Cricket Club] Pitchero sports listings
  44. Reigate Rugby Club Archived 2012-05-01 at the Wayback Machine Pitchero sports listings
  45. "Play Rugby - Old Reigatians". Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  46. "Donyngs Leisure Centre - Reigate and Banstead - Better leisure". Archived from the original on 5 April 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  47. "Ventriloquist Ray Alan dies at 79". 24 May 2010. Archived from the original on 26 November 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018 via


  • W. Hooper. Reigate; its story through the ages. 1945
  • J. Greenwood. Turnpikes and the economy: the case of Reigate

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