A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Cherchefelle or Crechesfeld (xi–xii cent.); Reygate (xiii cent.); Reigate or Riegate (xvii–xviii cent.).
Reigate is a municipal borough, formerly a parliamentary borough, 6 miles east from Dorking, and 23 miles south by road from London. The parish is bounded by Kingswood in Ewell and Gatton on the north, by Nutfield on the east, by Horley, Buckland (detached), and Leigh on the south, by Betchworth and Buckland on the west. It measures 4 miles east and west, by 3 miles north and south, and contains 5,871 acres of land and 34 of water. The parish extends from the crest of the chalk, over the Upper Green Sand, the Gault, Lower Green Sand and Atherfield Clay, on to the Wealden Clay. The top of the down where the suspension bridge crosses the old London road is 700 ft. above the sea, and the highest point of Reigate Hill is 762 ft.; the level in the town of Reigate, which lies on the Lower Green Sand, is 270 ft. South of the town is a ridge of sand, the western end of which, Park Hill, is 411 ft., the eastern, Redhill Common, 478 ft. above the sea. The land then falls to under 200 ft. in the southern part of the parish. The depression in the chalk and sand to the east of the parish is taken advantage of by the railway and the new London road. Four hundred and eighty acres of common exist still on Reigate Heath to the west, Wray Common to the north-east, Redhill Common to the east, Earlswood and Petridge Wood Common, the latter on the borders of Horley, to the south-east. The last two were woodland in the Weald, but the trees were cut down in the 17th century by Lord Monson.
Redhill and Earlswood Commons were in part inclosed by an Award of 15 July 1886, as part of the scheme for making them a public park. Numerous ancient encroachments on the waste are represented by houses, cottages, and gardens about Earlswood Common, Wray Common, and Reigate Heath.
The industry of Reigate was formerly that of a country market town; oatmeal is said to have been made in large quantities, and the fine sand of the soil was and is in demand for building, gardening, and glass-making. But in general industries have now rather gravitated towards Redhill, the new town in the eastern part of the parish (q.v.), where are breweries, tanneries, timber yards, printing works, fullers' earth works, and the necessary adjuncts of a large railway station.
The old town of Reigate consisted of one main street, the High Street, running east and west, south of the eminence on which the castle stood, and north of the opposite ridge on the lower part of which was the priory. Bell Lane ran from the south to the eastern corner of High Street, the newer Town Hall stands at the intersection of the two. Nutley Lane ran north from the western end of High Street, up the hill, to join the old main road east and west on the chalk downs, which only in modern times has been called the Pilgrims' Way. The name Reigate is not in Domesday; it is there evidently represented by the place called Cherchefelle. The town is manifestly the creation of the lords of the castle, consisting of a row of houses clustering for protection under the walls of the fortress and faced by a religious house, and may be compared with Lewes, which lies between a castle and a religious foundation of the same lords, the Earls of Warenne and Surrey. The church of the original Cherchefelle stood south-eastward of the castle, on a sandy knoll not unlike that on which the castle stands, but lower. The habitations clustered under the castle, not near the church. The High Street retains its name and position; eastward it is continued as Church Street, westward as West Street. These were east and west lines of communication. Bell Lane, High Street, and Nutley Lane, now the London road, were north and south lines, equally dominated by the castle. Manning and Bray, apparently quoting MSS. in the hands of Mr. Glover, the antiquarian solicitor of Reigate, and Aubrey say that there were three chapels in Reigate town. (fn. 1) The chapel of St. Thomas of Canterbury stood where the Town Hall stands in the middle of High Street, at the east end. (fn. 2)
At the western end of the High Street stands the Red Cross Inn, an ancient building much modernized, which was probably the hospice of the Canterbury pilgrims. In Slipshoe Street, West Street, and Bell Street are other old houses, half timber, tile-hung or brick fronted, the tile-hanging taking the form of diamond scales. There are several picturesque old inns with Georgian fronts, such as 'The Crown,' 'The Swan,' and 'The Grapes.'
A deed of 1588 referred to the old Market Place at the west end of High Street. The new one was therefore in existence then, but the present ugly brick building was put up in 1708. (fn. 3) At the place where the old Market House stood, between West Street and Slipshoe Lane, are parts of a very old clunch wall, and within their line is a pit, once a saw-pit, now a motor pit, in the side of which appears early stone vaulting, the remains of an old crypt or cellar. The chapel of the Holy Cross was said to be represented by two old houses at the end of High Street, looking down it eastward, which were recently demolished to improve the entrance into West Street. St. Lawrence's Chapel is said to have been in Bell Lane. Here, next the 'White Hart,' in a chemist's shop occupied by Mr. Fisher, are the remains of the stone corbels and tie-beams of a wide spanned roof, and the party walls of the house are very thick and ancient. (fn. 4) Opposite the present entrance to the castle is Cage Yard, where till recently a two-storied house of detention for accused persons was standing. Access to the town from the north, and now from the railway station, was materially improved in 1823 by driving a tunnel under the eastern part of the castle hill, whereby traffic came directly info High Street opposite Bell Lane, or Bell Street as it is now called, instead of circling round the castle. The northern approach to the tunnel, however, destroyed part of the eastern outworks of the castle. As in the case of other Surrey towns a large number of gentlemen's houses have sprung up of late in the outskirts of Reigate, and the streets have been in several places widened by the pulling down of old-fashioned houses. Slipshoe Lane, however, still retains some ancient cottages.
The town is spreading along the valley and northwards, and there are many good modern houses, as well as several new churches and chapels.
Among the larger houses, Minster Lea is the seat of Lady Jennings; The Wilderness of Mr. J. W. Freshfield; North-cote of Mr. F. C. Pawle, J. P.; Shermanbury of Sir John Watney; Normanton of Mr. F. E. Barnes, J.P.; Woodhatch House of Mr. R. P. Evans, J.P.; Colley of Mr. W. H. Nash, J.P. Near Redhill, High Trees is the residence of Mr. M. Marcus; Redstone Manor of Miss Webb; Shenley of Major Foster, J.P.; The Mount of Mr. E. C. P. Hall, J.P.; Lorne House of Captain Brodie.
Reigate might have been served by the Brighton line, when it was first projected, but opposed its too near approach to the town. It remained 2 miles from the railway at Redhill, till in 1849 the South Eastern Railway Company made the branch line from Redhill to Reading, with a station at Reigate. The road from Crawley to Reigate was the first turnpike road in Surrey, made in 1696, (fn. 5) but was then only passable for horses in the southern part. It is the road which enters Reigate by Bell Street. The communication to London went on up Nutley Lane, and so up Reigate Hill. But the present road up the hill was made in 1755. (fn. 6) The road from Reigate to Merstham, into the new road to Croydon, by way of Wray's Common, was made in 1807. (fn. 7) The communication of the London road with the town was improved by the tunnel made in 1823.
The borough was constituted a municipal borough in 1863, four years before it was destroyed finally as a parliamentary borough by the second Reform Act. The municipal buildings were erected in 1902 at a cost of over £25,000. In 1861 the Public Hall had been built at a cost of £5,000. It contains a library, and accommodates a literary institution and friendly societies. The cemetery adjoining the churchyard was opened in 1855.
The Isolation Hospital is in Horley parish; it was opened in 1900; Mrs. Kitto's Free Convalescent Home was moved to South Park in Reigate in 1880.
The Brabazon Home for invalid members of the Girls' Friendly Society was founded in 1885. It is in Lesbourne Road, and was founded by The Countess of Meath. The Victoria Almshouses were built by public subscription to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of her late Majesty. They stand in Deerings Road.
Reigate and Redhill neighbourhoods have yielded a great number of prehistoric remains, and there was clearly a large settlement of primitive people on the dry soil. Between 1848 and 1860 Mr. John Shelley made large discoveries of Neolithic flakes near Redhill Junction, on ground now covered by houses, and two sites of barrows were opened, revealing at 18 in. below the soil calcined bones, burnt flints, and a corn crusher. Sir John Evans described them to the Society of Antiquaries. (fn. 8) But various implements, including leaf-shaped arrow-heads, a hammer, and traces of hut floors were also found. (fn. 9) Two bronze armlets and British coins have also been found on Reigate Heath, (fn. 10) and on the heath are seven barrows, four easily visible, and three less clearly marked but discernible. There are pine trees on them, and guide books say that when the trees were planted glass beads and ashes were found. Flint flakes occur on the spot, which is a sand-hill to which the flints have been brought.
The subsequent history of Reigate is to be found in the possession of the manor and castle by the Earls of Warenne and Surrey.
From the utter destruction of the stonework it is impossible to date the castle, which has always belonged to the lords of the manor. It occupies a natural sand-hill, which has been artificially scarped, forming a plateau of about 300 ft. from east to west, by 200 ft. wide at the western end and 150 ft. at the eastern end. At the foot of the scarp is a ditch, of varying widths, from 60 to 30 ft. The crest of the scarp had a stone wall round it at one period. This formed the inner ward of the castle. The entrance was to the east, by the causeway, perhaps once broken by a drawbridge, across the ditch. There was an entrance tower standing here 120 years ago. The dwellinghouse was latterly, and probably always, at the wider western end. Outside the north-western part of the ditch, up the hill, was an extensive outwork. This part of the site is partly covered by private grounds, and has been cut into by building and a road, and is hard to define exactly. From this outwork or barbican a wet ditch ran eastwards, and then southwards in a curve. The south ditch of the inner ward is continued eastward for about 320 ft., and has a short limb reaching north and divided from the south-eastern extremity of the wet ditch by a bank. The wet ditch and extended dry ditch inclose an outer ward of nearly twice the area of the inner ward, and lying north-east and east of it.
From the northern outwork or barbican a wall was carried round the west and south sides of the castle on the outside of the dry fosse round the inner ward, making a narrow outer ward here also. Some small parts of this outer wall seem to remain in the garden walls of the houses on the south side of the castle, being the only stonework left in situ with any claims to antiquity.
The castle was an important place in the line of fortresses between London and the south coast. It immediately commanded a way north and south, by Bell Lane and Nutley Lane up the downs; a natural line of communication on the dry ground ran east and west immediately below it, through Reigate High Street, and it was not far from the great cross-county route along the chalk to the north. It surrendered to the French and the barons 8 June 1216. (fn. 11) It passed back into the regent's hands in 1217. In the campaigns of 1264 it is not mentioned, but was probably held for the king till after Lewes, while its near neighbour, Blechingley, de Clare's castle, was certainly held for the barons. In 1268, after the violent affray in Westminster Hall, when Alan de la Zouche was attacked by the Earl of Surrey and his men, and received wounds from which he ultimately died, the earl shut himself up in Reigate Castle and defied justice till Edward, the king's son, appeared before his walls, and Henry of Cornwall and the Earl of Gloucester persuaded him to surrender. (fn. 12) As in so many other cases, the decay of the castle was so gradual that no definite period can be assigned to it. Roland Lenthal stated in 1441 that the houses within the castle were ruinous. (fn. 13) Camden described it as 'now neglected and decayed with age.' A survey of 1622 (fn. 14) calls it 'a decayed castle with a very small house.' This is the interior dwelling-house, rebuilt at some earlier period. In 1648 the Earl of Holland's Royalist insurrectionaries came to Reigate and skirmished with Major Audley's soldiers on Redhill. The Royalists occupied the decayed castle, which was no doubt in some sense defensible, but abandoned it next day, when the pursuing Parliamentary commander Livesay thought it worth while to leave a garrison in it. (fn. 15) While this was in progress, 4 July 1648, Parliament referred to the Derby Home Committee an order to make Reigate Castle, among other places, incapable of being used as a fortress. (fn. 16) This order no doubt completed the ruin. In 1782 Watson (fn. 17) gives a contemporary view from the south, which shows the small house, a one-storied building with two wings, the Gate Tower, apparently of about 14th-century date, in good preservation, a round tower to the south-west and a bit of ruinous wall between these two towers. It is badly drawn, and the Gate Tower is in the wrong place, according to his own plan, and judging from the existing causeway over the ditch.
Some French jetons and a large mediaeval spur have been found in the castle.
The caverns are under the western part of the inner inclosure. There is an entrance from the middle of the castle, and another, perhaps more recent, from the western ditch. The sandstone of the hill yields readily to excavation, and is hard enough to stand unsupported. The caverns were in all probability dry cellars and storehouses to begin with, enlarged later from busy idleness, which is also responsible for the sham antique gateway of the castle, or merely from commercial desire to dig and sell the fine sand which is in great request. The survey of 1622 mentions 'special white sand within the lord's castle.' The tradition that William de Warenne's castle was made a rendezvous for a secret meeting of the barons who were about to demand the Great Charter from the king, is equivalent to saying that the Reform Bill of 1832 was elaborated in the Carlton Club. Moreover the combined barons went nowhere near Reigate except in legend.
Some of the same uncertainty which prevails about the date of the castle exists about the date of the foundation of the priory. This can be more approximately dated, however, for it was founded by William de Warenne, who died in 1240, and by Isabel his wife. (fn. 18) It was grievously decayed before the Suppression, when its revenues were only £68 a year, and there were only the prior and three Austin Canons residing in it. The Priory House, on its site, the property of Lady Henry Somerset, is not the old Priory.
When Lord William Howard, first Lord Howard of Effingham, obtained the priory estate by grant from Henry VIII he must have demolished a great part of the buildings, including probably the church, and transformed what remained into a mansion for his own use, and this house was in turn almost entirely rebuilt or refronted in 1779. The main or south front of this last period is of pleasing elevation in Reigate stone, consisting of a long central portion with a pediment in the middle, above which rises a cupola, and projecting wings, the whole under a steep-pitched tiled roof. The simple and dignified style suggests a date of a century earlier. Parts of the walls in the rear are those of the priory buildings—perhaps of the refectory—in particular a range of plain stone corbels, and what appears to be the lower part of a corbelled-out chimney belonging to an upper story.
The house contains a fine 16th-century mantelpiece with the royal arms on it, which tradition says came from Blechingley Place. (fn. 19) The royal arms are France and England quarterly, which shows the date to be previous to James I, and on the lower part, to which the overmantel was added, are the Howard arms.
The survey of Reigate Manor in 1622 mentions the old park, south of the town, well stored with timber and deer, with 'a faire pond' stocked with fish. It covered 201 acres, including a portion of the waste laid to it. It was leased by the Earl of Nottingham, who lived at the Priory, of the Earl of Dorset. It is obviously the park about the Priory, which properly belonged to Reigate Manor, not to the Priory. Sir Roger James was then tenant of the castle, and of the 'connie warren.'
The present buildings of the Reigate Free School were erected in 1871, when a new scheme was sanctioned for the management of the school. (fn. 20) The earlier history of the school (given in another volume) can be supplemented from the vestry books and a MS. which has come under the writer's notice. The litigation in Chancery which followed the refusal of the heirs of Sir Edward Thurland, the original trustee of the school funds in 1675, to recognize the trust, resulted in a decision of 18 April 1687 establishing the vicar, churchwardens, and six of the principal inhabitants as trustees. The school was started shortly afterwards, previous to 1744, the date given in the earlier volume of this history. Andrew Cranston, vicar from 1697 to 1708, who established the library in the church, was master of the school, which was kept in a house devised for the purpose by Robert Bishop in 1698, when four boys had to be taught freely. Mr. John Parker in 1718 added two more free scholars supported by an endowment, and there were then thirty paying boys. It was ordered that year by the vestry that the master should teach the Catechism twice a week and see that the boys went to church on Sundays, holidays, and weekly prayer days. The election of the master was in the hands of 'the whole parish,' but as there were three masters between the death of the Rev. John Bird, vicar and master in 1728, and the appointment of the Rev. John Martin in 1732, the relations between the master and the vestry were probably not easy. The masters were expected to do repairs of the schoolhouse, and did not do them. In 1778 the vestry voted that the repairs were to fall upon the master, and that the last executed had been in 1733, when £60 was laid out 'from an unknown source.' Mr. Thomas Sisson signed as master on those terms. The desire of the masters was clearly to neglect the free scholars, and to take paying pupils. It would seem that at this date (1778) the Rev. Mr. Pooles was nominally master, drawing the small endowment and probably taking private pupils, and had put in Mr. Sisson as usher to teach the free boys. The vestry put in Mr. Sisson as master, but ultimately (fn. 21) had to undertake the repairs.
Reigate (British) School, High Street, was built in 1852, enlarged in 1888.
Reigate (national) School, London Road, was built in 1859.
St. Mark's (national) School, Holmesdale Road, was built in 1869.
Holmesdale (British) School, was built in 1870, and rebuilt in 1900.
St. Luke's (national) School, Allingham Road, was built in 1873, enlarged 1883.
Heathfield (Church) School, Reigate Heath, was built in 1873.
Lesbourne Lands (national) School for Infants was built in 1880.
The Wesleyan chapel in High Street was built in 1884, in place of an older chapel in Nutley Lane.
The Primitive Methodist chapel was built in 1870; there is also a Congregational church in Allingham Road.
Two societies of Nonconformists in Reigate have a more ancient history. George Fox came to Reigate in 1655, and his friends were numerous in the neighbourhood. Reigate, Dorking, Capel, Ockley, Newdigate, Charlwood, all had early adherents of the Society of Friends in them. There is a record of a meeting in Reigate in 1669. Mr. Thomas Moore, a justice of the peace, mentioned in Fox's Journal, let some land at a nominal rent for a permanent meeting-house as soon as the Toleration Act of 1689 made it lawful. A burial-ground was attached to it. The original building lasted till 1798, when it was rebuilt or considerably altered. In 1856 the building was pulled down and replaced by the present meetinghouse, on the same site, on the road to Redhill. (fn. 22)
A congregation of Independents claims to have existed in Reigate since 1662. From the records of the present church it appears that the Rev. James Waters was the first minister. The list of meetings which Sheldon procured in 1669, and the licences under the Indulgence of 1672, show no meetings in Reigate. (fn. 23) But Mr. Waters is not said to have entered upon regular ministrations till 1687, after James's Declaration of Indulgence. Meanwhile, however, he had been tutor in the family of Denzil Lord Holles, who was a Presbyterian, and chaplain to Mr. Evelyn of Nutfield. In 1715 there were Presbyterian and Friends' meetings in Reigate, but no Independents. (fn. 24) In 1725 the returns to Willis' Visitation (fn. 25) show the same. It is pretty obvious that this is another of the Presbyterian meetings which for want of a real Presbyterian organization passed into Congregationalism. The chapel was repaired in 1819 by Mr. Thomas Wilson, and reopened after having been closed about twenty years. It was rebuilt altogether by Mr. Wilson in 1831, and has since been enlarged. (fn. 26)
Redhill was, as the name conveys, a hill of the sand formation, and Redhill Common was a large open space in Reigate parish, of some fame historically as the scene of a skirmish, or of the meeting at least, of hostile picquets of Royalists and Parliamentarians in 1648, and of a projected Royalist meeting in 1659. (fn. 27) The coming of the railways turned the neighbourhood of a country common into one of the most important towns in Surrey. In 1841 the Brighton line was opened with stations at Battle Bridge and Hooley, the former now disused, the latter a goods siding, north of Earlswood station. In 1842 the South Eastern line to Dover, which had obtained running powers over the Brighton line as far as a point north of Hooley Station, was carried from what then became Redhill Junction to Dover. Earlswood station was opened at a later date. The districts of Reigate parish called Woodhatch, and Linkfield, the latter including the hamlets of Linkfield Street and Wiggey, and Mead Vale and Earlswood, were those which were immediately affected by the line, and population soon increased in them. In 1844 there being about 1,200 people in Linkfield and Woodhatch, the ecclesiastical parish of St. John the Evangelist was formed. In 1867 St. Matthew's ecclesiastical parish was formed out of the northern part of St. John's, and the ecclesiastical parish of Holy Trinity was formed in 1907 out of St. Matthew's. The population served by these three churches is nearly 20,000.
The Roman Catholic church, St. Joseph's, was consecrated in 1898, in place of one built in 1860.
St. Paul's Presbyterian Church of England was built in 1902.
The Congregational chapel in Chapel Road was built in 1862; the Baptist chapel in London Road in 1864. There are other Baptist chapels in Station Road, Hatchlands Road, and Mead Vale; two Wesleyan, and three Primitive Methodist chapels; and meeting-places for the Plymouth Brethren and Salvation Army.
The Reformatory of the Philanthropic Society for Reformation of Juvenile Offenders, founded in St. George's Fields, Southwark, in 1788, and incorporated in 1806, was removed to a site at Earlswood in 1849. It consists of five separate houses, each holding sixty boys.
The Royal Asylum of St. Anne, established in Aldersgate in 1702, for the support and education of children of both sexes, was removed in 1884 to buildings close to Redhill Station, which were opened by King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales.
The Earlswood Asylum, the national home for the feeble-minded, was founded on Earlswood Common in 1847. The buildings were opened by the Prince Consort. It was considerably enlarged in 1870 and 1877, and altered from 1903 to 1906. It accommodates 600 patients.
Reigate Union Workhouse is also on Earlswood Common.
On Earlswood Common there is a station on the Brighton line, which serves the southern part of Redhill and the numerous houses springing up towards Horley parish.
Redhill has a Market Hall, built in 1860 and enlarged in 1891 and 1903. It gives accommodation to the post office, the county court, and several societies. There is a market every alternate Wednesday. The Market Field, with a house exclusively for the purpose of a market, is at the back of the Hall.
The Colman Institute was presented to Redhill by Sir Jeremiah Colman, bart., of Gatton Park, in 1904. In it the Literary Institution, founded in 1884, now meets. It is in the London Road, and is of red brick and terra cotta.
The County Council Technical Institute is on Redstone Hill.
The top of Redhill Common was taken by the War Office in 1862 for the erection of a fort. This design was never carried out, and in 1884 the Reigate Corporation acquired it for a public park. The Board of Conservators, appointed under the provisions of a private Act, have planted some of the ground, and acquired and improved the sheet of water on Earlswood Common as a bathing and skating pond.
St. John's (national) school was built in 1846, enlarged 1861 and 1884.
St. Matthew's (national) Boys' School, built in 1872, was enlarged in 1884; Girls' and Infants', started in 1866, was rebuilt in 1884.
St. Joseph's (Roman Catholic) School, built in 1868, was rebuilt in 1902.
The Wesleyan School, Cromwell Road, was opened in 1867.
Frenches Road (Church) School was built in 1903.
St. John's (Infants) School is at Mead Vale. There is also at Battle Bridge a (Church) mixed school.
Reigate was for many centuries a mesne borough entirely under the power of the successive lords of the manor. Apparently the burgesses had no charter until 1863. (fn. 28)
The borough was evidently of little importance before that date. Its extent was inconsiderable as compared with that of the whole parish, and although it contained the more thickly-inhabited district round the castle, it is noteworthy that it excluded the old parish church. (fn. 29) The Domesday name of the manor, Cherchefelle, suggests that the church was the centre of the original settlement, and that the borough grew up under the walls of the castle, where it is closely clustered. There were only ninety separate tenements in it in 1622. Beyond its limits the rest of the parish, known as the 'foreign,' was divided into the 'boroughs' or tithings of Santon, Linkfield, Woodhatch, Hooley, and Colley. (fn. 30) In 1832 the parish boundary was adopted for parliamentary purposes. (fn. 31)
Previous to 1863 the privileges of the burgesses of Reigate beyond that of the parliamentary franchise were very limited. They had no court of their own but attended the court leet of the lord, (fn. 32) in which their officers were elected. (fn. 33) The court leet at Michaelmas elected a bailiff, constables, two for the borough, one for the 'foreign,' six headboroughs, a fish-taster, a flesh-taster, a searcher of leather, a sealer of leather, and two ale-conners. (fn. 34) They had no common lands until their purchase of Redhill Common from the Crown in 1867, (fn. 35) but in 1678–9 they were granted the tolls of a monthly market and yearly fair. (fn. 36) The burgesses were chiefly distinguished from the other tenants of the manor, the majority of whom were copyhold tenants, (fn. 37) by the rents which they paid. The liberties of the lord within the borough in 1279 included infangtheof, gallows, the custody of prisoners, view of frankpledge, and free warren, which last extended in the case of Reigate over the lands of the freemen as well as the demesne lands of the manor. (fn. 38) Return of writs was granted to John Duke of Norfolk, when lord of the manor in 1468. (fn. 39)
The first known mention of Reigate as a borough is in 1291, when the men of the borough complained of exactions by the sheriff. (fn. 40) In 1295 they first returned two burgesses to Parliament. (fn. 41) The returning officers in 1452 were the two constables. (fn. 42) The bailiff of the borough appears to have supplanted them shortly afterwards, for Richard Knight, bailiff, was returning officer in 1472. (fn. 43) It has been said that it was customary for the presiding constable to be elected bailiff each year, (fn. 44) but the rolls show that the bailiff was not the same man as either constable in certain years at least. The two constables and the bailiff chosen in the lord's court leet (fn. 45) were the principal municipal officers until the incorporation charter of 1863 established a council of mayor, aldermen, and councillors.
From 1295 till 1832 two burgesses were returned for Reigate, the franchise being vested in the burgage holders. (fn. 46) Under the Reform Act of 1832 the borough boundary was extended to include the whole parish, (fn. 47) and the number of representatives reduced to one, and in 1867 Reigate was disfranchised. (fn. 48)
The growth of the borough was evidently due to the protection afforded by the castle. It may also have acquired importance through the neighbouring stone quarries worked in the 13th and 14th centuries and its position on cross roads. (fn. 49) It was a market town before 1276, (fn. 50) and shortly afterwards Earl Warenne proved his claim to a prescriptive weekly market on Saturdays and fairs on Tuesday in Pentecost week, the eve and day of St. Lawrence (10 August), and the eve and day of the Exaltation of the Cross (14 September). (fn. 51) The first and last continue still. In 1313 John Earl of Surrey had a new grant of a market on Tuesdays, (fn. 52) which is still extant. Another market was established at Redhill by a private company in 1859, (fn. 53) and is now held on alternate Wednesdays.
A monthly market and a cattle fair on Wednesdays in Easter week were granted to the burgesses in February 1678–9. (fn. 54) A fair is still held on 9 December. The weekly market granted to the burgesses seems to have been merged in the Tuesday market.
The manor of REIGATE appears in the Domesday Survey under the name of Cherchefelle. It was then held in demesne by the king, and had formerly belonged to Queen Edith. (fn. 55) Probably William II granted it to William de Warenne when creating him Earl of Surrey, c. 1088. (fn. 56) The statement in Testa de Nevill, that Reigate had pertained to the barony of Earl Warenne from the time of the Conquest, (fn. 57) points to its having formed part of the earl's original endowment, but the earliest known reference to Reigate Manor as a possession of the Earls of Surrey (fn. 58) is that of the inquest of 1212, where it is returned among the lands of William Earl of Surrey, son of Isabel, great-granddaughter of the above-mentioned earl. (fn. 59) An account of the family and its close connexion with the county will be found in the article on the Political History of Surrey. (fn. 60)
In 1316 John Earl of Surrey surrendered Reigate with other lands to the king and had a regrant for life, with remainder to John de Warenne, his illegitimate son by Maud de Nerford. (fn. 61) This settlement was altered in 1326 in favour of his lawful wife Joan, Countess of Bar, granddaughter of Edward I, (fn. 62) who after his death held Reigate in dower. (fn. 63) In accordance with the settlement of 1326 and a charter of Edward III, (fn. 64) it passed at her death in 1351 to the earl's nephew Richard, Earl of Arundel, (fn. 65) afterwards styled Earl of Surrey. His son and heir, Richard, the distinguished naval commander of the later French wars, having incurred the enmity of Richard II fled to Reigate, but having been treacherously persuaded to leave the castle (fn. 66) was arrested, attainted, and beheaded September 1397. (fn. 67) His lands thus forfeit to the Crown (fn. 68) were granted to John Holand, Duke of Exeter. (fn. 69)
The latter was himself beheaded at Pleshey for conspiracy against Henry IV in January 1399–1400, and in the following October Thomas, son of the last-named Richard, Earl of Arundel, was restored to his father's honours, and probably to his lands. (fn. 70) After his death, which occurred in 1415, (fn. 71) Reigate formed part of the dower of his widow Beatrice. (fn. 72)
Soon after her death, which occurred in 1439, par tition was made of the estates which she had held in dower between her husband's co-heirs, the descendants of his three sisters, viz. John, Duke of Norfolk, grandson of one sister Elizabeth, who had married Thomas, Duke of Norfolk; Lady Elizabeth Nevill, granddaughter of Joan, Lady Abergavenny, a second sister; and Edmund Lenthal, son of Margaret wife of Sir Roland Lenthal, a third sister. (fn. 73) Since Edmund Lenthal was then a minor Sir Roland Lenthal, perhaps his father, (fn. 74) had the custody of his lands till he came of age, 16 June 1441. (fn. 75) Among these was one-third of certain houses within the castle of Reigate, (fn. 76) and Edward Lord Abergavenny held at his death by right of his wife Lady Elizabeth Nevill another third of the castle and liberties. (fn. 77) No further trace of tenure either by the Lenthal or Nevill families has been found, but in a later plea it is stated that by an agreement between the three sisters, Elizabeth, Joan, and Margaret, the whole of Reigate was assigned as the purparty of Elizabeth and her husband, Thomas Duke of Norfolk. (fn. 78) The whole manor seems to have been in the possession of the latter's great-grandson, John Duke of Norfolk, (fn. 79) who, in September 1474, settled it on his wife Elizabeth. (fn. 80) In 1477 she conveyed her life interest to Elizabeth (Wydeville), Queen of Edward IV, (fn. 81) but in the same year Katharine, widow of the late duke's grandfather and sister-in-law of the queen, was holding the manor in dower. (fn. 82) The remainder was then settled on Anne, the duke's only daughter and heir, at her betrothal to Richard the unfortunate Duke of York, murdered in 1483. (fn. 83) The coheirs of Anne were the representatives of her great-aunts, viz., William Marquess of Berkeley, John Howard, created Duke of Norfolk in 1483, Thomas Earl of Derby, and Sir John Wingfield. The manor was apparently divided between them, for William Marquess of Berkeley was in possession of one-fourth in 1489. (fn. 84) His brother and heir Maurice, from whom he endeavoured to alienate his inheritance, (fn. 85) recovered onefourth of Reigate from the Crown in 1503. (fn. 86) In the following year he conveyed this purparty to Sir Edward Poynings, kt., (fn. 87) and others, probably to sell, for he is said to have parted with his quarter to Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, son of John Duke of Norfolk. (fn. 88)
John, Duke of Norfolk, fell at Bosworth, August 1485, and was attainted in the following November. (fn. 89) His interest in Reigate thus fell to the Crown. (fn. 90) but was not regranted to Thomas with his father's other lands in 1489. (fn. 91) Henry VIII granted the manor of Reigate to Agnes, widow of Thomas, in dower. (fn. 92) His son, Thomas Duke of Norfolk, was attainted in January 1546–7, (fn. 93) and the farm of his moiety of the manor was granted in March 1550–1 to his half-brother William Howard, afterwards Baron Howard of Effingham. (fn. 94) His widow Margaret held a court in 1574. (fn. 95) Their son and heir Charles, Lord High Admiral, created Earl of Nottingham in 1596, held one moiety of the manor in his own right and leased the other moiety from the Earl of Derby. (fn. 96) He settled his moiety on his wife Margaret, (fn. 97) who, after his death in December 1624, married William, afterwards Viscount Monson (fn. 98) of Castlemaine. After her death in 1639 (fn. 99) this half of the manor appears to have reverted to her husband's heir male, Charles, second Earl of Nottingham, whose half-brother, the third earl of that name, sold it to John Goodwyn (fn. 100) in 1648. (fn. 101) The latter held a court jointly with James, Duke of York, in 1672, and in 1683 his interest was vested in Dean Goodwyn, (fn. 102) who with Charles Goodwyn released his moiety to James shortly after his accession to the throne. (fn. 103)
Thomas Earl of Derby, the third co-heir to the lands of Anne Mowbray (see above), appears to have acquired the Wingfield quarter of the manor in addition to his own. (fn. 104) He was succeeded by his grandson Thomas, who died seised of this moiety in 1521. (fn. 105) His widow held it in dower. (fn. 106)
During the lifetime of his son and ultimate heir, Henry fourth Earl of Derby, the Earl of Nottingham had a lease of it. (fn. 107) After the death of his son Ferdinand, the fifth earl, without issue male it was purchased in 1600 by John Gawber, an agent or trustee for Thomas, created Earl of Dorset in March 1603–4. (fn. 108) Gawber died before the conveyance was completed, but his daughter and heir Margaret, wife of John Harris, conveyed it to Richard Earl of Dorset, grandson of the above Thomas, in 1613. (fn. 109) In 1611 he had already obtained a royal grant of it. (fn. 110) A survey of the manor was made for him in 1622. Earl Richard died in March 1623–4, (fn. 111) and in 1628 his estate in Reigate was sold, probably for the payment of his debts, to Sir John Monson and Robert Goodwyn. (fn. 112) They conveyed it in 1646 to William Viscount Monson, (fn. 113) whose wife, as widow of Charles Earl of Nottingham, had held the other moiety until her death in 1639. Viscount Monson was one of the regicide judges and was accordingly degraded and imprisoned for life after the Restoration, (fn. 114) and his moiety of Reigate was immediately acquired by James Duke of York, who was endowed with the estates of the regicides. (fn. 115) He appointed a steward of the manor in March 1661, (fn. 116) and in 1686, after his accession as James II, acquired the other moiety. (fn. 117)
The whole manor thus united was granted 24 April 1697 by William III to Joseph Jekyll (fn. 118) (knighted in the same year), possibly in trust for his brother-in-law John Lord Somers, in whose name courts were held. (fn. 119) At his death in 1716 it was inherited by his two sisters, Mary wife of Charles Cocks and Elizabeth wife of the abovementioned Sir Joseph Jekyll, kt. (fn. 120) Courts were held in their names until the death of Mrs. Cocks, 1717, after which Sir Joseph Jekyll, until his death, and subsequently his widow, held courts. She died in 1745, (fn. 121) and was succeeded by her nephew James Cocks, (fn. 122) M.P. for Reigate. He died 1750. His son James died unmarried 1758, when Charles, son of John the brother of James above-mentioned, succeeded. He was M.P. for Reigate from 1747 to 1784. He was created a baronet in 1772, and Baron Somers in 1784. His son and successor, John, was created Earl Somers July 1821 and died 1841. The manor descended to his son and grandson; on the death of Charles, third Earl Somers, in 1883, without male issue, it devolved upon one of his daughters, Lady Henry Somerset, the present owner.
The 'honour' of Reigate evidently comprised those lands of the honour of Warenne which were directly held of Reigate Manor. These included the manors of Dorking, Fetcham, Cranleigh, Vachery, Bradley in Dorking, Ashtead, and the Priory, Hooley, Redstone, Frenches, and Colley in Reigate. (fn. 123)
Most of the lands of the PRIORY in Reigate were probably granted to it by William de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, and his wife Isabel, at the foundation of the house before 1240. (fn. 124) At the suppression of the Priory in July 1536 it had lands both in the parish and in the borough, and courts were held for the tenants of these. (fn. 125) Lord Edmund Howard was then steward, but a lease of the Priory was made to John Marten in January 1537–8. (fn. 126) In 1541 it was granted to Lord William Howard, afterwards Lord Howard of Effingham, younger son of Thomas second Duke of Norfolk, and his wife Margaret in tail, (fn. 127) with lands in Reigate, Dorking, Capel, Betchworth, Horley, Burstow, Headley, Nutfield, Mickleham, Ashtead and Letherhead. In the following year he was attainted for complicity with his niece Katherine Howard, (fn. 128) but in 1543 the Priory was regranted to his wife, and in 1544 the original grant to them both was renewed. (fn. 129) Lady Howard died at Reigate in 1581, (fn. 130) and their son Charles, first Earl of Nottingham, Lord Admiral, held the Priory at his death in 1624, and habitually resided there, though he died at Haling. It was inherited by his granddaughter Elizabeth, Countess of Peterborough, 'a lady of extraordinary beauty.' (fn. 131) She tried to cut off the entail on the Priory in favour of her younger son, John Viscount Mordaunt, (fn. 132) a Royalist who made unsuccessful attempts to raise the country on behalf of Charles in 1658 and 1659. (fn. 133) His mother's estates were seized for his recusancy in 1659, but after the Restoration he was granted the remainder of the Priory at her death. (fn. 134) From his trustees it was purchased by Sir John Parsons, Lord Mayor of London in 1703. (fn. 135) It was inherited by his son Sir Humphrey, a brewer of note, who was twice Lord Mayor, and represented Reigate in many Parliaments. (fn. 136) He died in 1741, having bequeathed the Priory to his wife Sarah, (fn. 137) after whose death in 1759 her two daughters, the wives of Sir John Hinde Cotton and James Dunn, inherited it. (fn. 138) They are said to have sold in 1766 to a Mr. Richard Ireland, who bequeathed it to his niece, Mrs. Jones. (fn. 139) Her son Arthur conveyed it in 1801 to Thomas Eden, Francis Webber, and Henry Ley, (fn. 140) in trust for sale to Mr. Mowbray, from whom it was purchased c. 1808 by Lord Somers, (fn. 141) since when it has descended with the manor. (q.v.).
The manor of COLLEY (fn. 142) (Colle, xiii cent.) was a member of the honour of Reigate. It seems to be identical with 2 hides of land held by Walter of Colley in 1217–18. (fn. 143) In that year he gave threefourths of a virgate there to Roger son of Alfred. (fn. 144) Roger of London evidently acquired the manor, for he was holding half a knight's fee in Reigate late in the 13th century, (fn. 145) and obtained a release of land there from Thomas son of Walter of Colley in 1326. (fn. 146) Roger's widow Eleanor, in consideration of a yearly rent to herself and her son Roger of London, conveyed the manor to Ralph son of Roger of London in 1332, with contingent remainder to Ralph's brother Roger and others, and finally to Eleanor's son Roger. (fn. 147) A Roger of London with his wife Alice (fn. 148) sold the manor to Richard, Earl of Arundel, in 1348, (fn. 149) and it was settled on his younger son Sir John Arundel, kt., in tail male, together with the manor of Buckland. (fn. 150) The grandsons of Sir John Arundel became successively Earls of Arundel, and it was held by the earls till 1566, when Henry, the thirteenth earl, after the death of his only son, sold it to Thomas Copley of Gatton. (fn. 151) With his heirs male (fn. 152) it remained for more than a century. At the partition of the estates of William Copley the elder between his two granddaughters, Mary wife of John Weston, and Anne wife of George Weston and afterwards of Sir Nathaniel Minshull, Colley was assigned to Mary Weston. (fn. 153) Her husband died in 1690, (fn. 154) and her grandson John Weston was in possession of Colley in 1702. (fn. 155) He died in 1730, leaving an only daughter, Melior Mary Weston, who died unmarried in June 1782. (fn. 156) Under her will Colley passed to John Webbe, who took the name of Weston. His son John Joseph Webbe Weston sold it in 1842 to Henry Lainson. (fn. 157) He died in 1850, and was succeeded by his son Mr. Henry Lainson, whose nephew Mr. William H. Nash succeeded him in 1890, and almost immediately broke up the property. The manor is now lost. Mr. Frederick Horne at present lives in Colley Manor House.
The reputed manor of COMBES was held for several centuries by the lords of Flanchford (fn. 158) (vide infra). Possibly it was identical with the messuage and land conveyed to Henry Flanchford by William Combe and his wife Alice in 1408–9, (fn. 159) but the Priory of St. Mary Overy had a grange at Combe. (fn. 160) The house called Minster Lea is reputed to be on their land.
The reputed manor of FLANCHFORD (Flaunchford or Flaunchworth, xvii cent.), a member of Reigate, was held by Hugh Flanchford, (fn. 161) and afterwards granted by John Earl Warenne to Brice his cook and his wife Alice. (fn. 162) In 1446 it was given by John Duke of Norfolk, lord of the manor of Reigate, to John Timperley, who represented Reigate in Parliament in 1453 and 1460. In February 1453–4 the manor was conveyed by feoffees to John and Alice Arderne of Leigh (q.v.). (fn. 163) Richard Arderne, son of John, died in 1499, and left his estates to his half-brother John Holgrave, (fn. 164) from whom this must have passed to the Dudleys (of Leigh Place). John Dudley sold to Edward Shelley of Findon in Sussex in 1530. Anne widow of Reginald Cobham (Cobbe ?) of Blechingley, and possibly daughter-inlaw of Edward Shelley, conveyed it to Sir Thomas Sander of Charlwood in 1539; (fn. 165) his eldest son Edmund sold it in 1601 to Martin and Christopher Freeman, (fn. 166) who alienated in the following year to Thomas, afterwards Sir Thomas Bludder, kt., a commissioner of the Victualling Office. (fn. 167) He died at Reigate 2 November 1618, and was succeeded by his son Sir Thomas Bludder, kt. (fn. 168) After his death in 1655 it was sold to Sir Thomas Hooke, bart., (fn. 169) who in 1666 conveyed it to Sir Cyril Wyche, one of the six clerks in Chancery. (fn. 170) He is said to have sold it in 1676 to Thomas Lord Windsor, afterwards created Earl of Plymouth. (fn. 171) From his younger son, Thomas Viscount Windsor (in Ireland), it was purchased by Sir William Scawen in 1720. (fn. 172) His heir male, James Scawen, sold in 1781 to Sir Merrik Burrell, bart., of West Grinstead Park, co. Sussex, who bequeathed it to his great-nephew Sir Peter Burrell, bart., from whom it was bought in 1790 by William Browne. (fn. 173) It was afterwards owned by a Mr. William John Clutton, deceased, whose executors held it till recently.
FRENCHES was a reputed manor held of Reigate by fealty, suit of court, and 24s. rent. It belonged in 1596 to Nicholas Pope and his wife Mary, who conveyed it in that year to Charles Tingilden. (fn. 174) From the latter it was shortly afterwards acquired by Henry Drake, who died seised in 1609, and was succeeded by his son Edward. (fn. 175) There was an in scription in the church, now covered by seats, to Henry Drake of Frenches, father of Edward Drake. In 1630 Edward Drake sold the manor to Timothy Cartwright, (fn. 176) who conveyed it in 1646 to John Parker. (fn. 177) John Parker died seised in 1679, his son James in 1689, his son John in 1718. (fn. 178) The last is said to have left it by will to John Shaw of Eltham. Richard Ladbroke 'of Frenches' died in 1730. His 'kinsman' Richard Ladbroke died in 1765, and the latter's son Richard Ladbroke in 1793. (fn. 179) Richard Ladbroke, junior, left Frenches by will (fn. 180) to the children of his sisters Elizabeth Denton and Mary Weller in succession.
The so-called 'manor' of HOOLEY (Houlegh, xiv cent.; Houghley, xv cent.) was held by John son of John de Brewes c. 1357, (fn. 181) but had been acquired by Richard, Earl of Arundel, before his death in 1397, (fn. 182) and thenceforward descended with the main manor of Reigate (q.v.). There is no record of separate courts, although in the deeds relating to Reigate and Hooley they are always distinguished as two separate manors. The manor-house of Hooley was conveyed to Richard Savage, yeoman, as a tenant of the manor in 1702. In 1729 his widow was admitted. In 1733 Charles Boone was admitted, and in 1752 his sons sold their interest to John Burt Tanner. (fn. 183) When Manning and Bray wrote (fn. 184) Henry Byne held it. In 1838 it was bought by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.
The reputed manor of LINKFIELD, held of the Priory Manor and of Gatton Manor, is probably identical with the tenement held by Nicholas de Linkfield, whose rent Earl Warenne granted to the prior in 1315. (fn. 185) In February 1506–7 Thomas Fulbourne, his wife Katherine, and his daughter Anne sold the manor of Linkfield to John Couper, (fn. 186) and in 1560 Thomas Engles and his wife, Katherine daughter of John Couper, were in possession. (fn. 187) He died 26 September 1575. (fn. 188) She was still living at Reigate in 1575, (fn. 189) and had a son James. But in accordance with a settlement on his first wife Linkfield descended to their daughter Anne wife of Philip Moys of Banstead. (fn. 190) It remained in their family till 1648, when Henry Moys conveyed it to Roger James and Edward Thurland, (fn. 191) as trustees for Thomas Turges. In the following year he alienated it to John Parker. (fn. 192) His son Ambrose Parker, who succeeded in 1684, (fn. 193) mortgaged it in 1717 to Turges Newland of Gatton, who shortly afterwards became the owner. (fn. 194) It descended with Lower Gatton to Robert Ladbroke. (fn. 195) Brayley (fn. 196) says that Mr. Robert Ladbroke left it to Miss Ladbroke, who married Mr. Weller, and he took the name of Ladbroke, and owned it in 1841. But Mary Ladbroke, cousin to Robert, married the Rev. James Weller in 1767, and he, under the name of Weller, held the livings of Trinity and St. Mary's Guildford from 1774 to 1824, when he resigned. Possibly his son changed his name. The capital mansion of Linkfield no longer exists.
The reputed manor of REDSTONE was evidently held in 1292 by John de Montfort, for in that year he had grant of free warren in Ashtead, Newdigate, and Redstone. (fn. 197) It is probably identical with the messuage and carucate of land granted in 1273–4 by Peter de Montfort, father to the said John, and his wife Maud to Martin Odo of Westminster for life, with remainder to his brother Thomas and contingent reversion, failing the heirs of Thomas, to Peter and Maud and the heirs of Maud. (fn. 198) John de Montfort did not hold it at his death, unless it was then included in Ashtead. (fn. 199) John Birt sold it in 1528 to Thomas Michell and others, (fn. 200) and in 1584 John Michell of Cuckfield conveyed it to John Hussey of Cuckfield. (fn. 201) George, brother and heir of John Hussey, son of George son of the above-mentioned John, alienated to Richard Heath c. 1632. (fn. 202) It remained in his family until 1713, when George Heath conveyed to Robert Bicknell. (fn. 203)
The house with the site of the manor passed to Sir Evelyn Alston in 1720, when the lands of the manor were broken up. (fn. 204) Mr. Thomas Peyto became owner of part of them. (fn. 205) Thomas Okes died in 1759 owner of Redstone, (fn. 206) and his widow was in possession till 1768. The house was eventually acquired by the Colebrookes of Gatton, with which it descended to Mary Graham and George Graham, who in 1794 sold it to Ebenezer Whiting. (fn. 207). In 1883 it was the property of Mr. Henry Webbe, and since 1891 has been owned by his daughter Miss Webbe.
The RECTORY MANOR had its origin in the enfeoffment of the priory of St. Mary Overy by Hamelin, Earl Warenne, and his wife Isabel, of the church of 'Crechesfeld,' with the tithes and land appurtenant (fn. 208) (1164–99). In 1535 the rectory was valued at £20. (fn. 209) After the surrender of the monastery, October 1539, the rectory apparently remained in the Crown until 17 December 1552, when it was granted to James Skinner. (fn. 210) He settled it on his nephew John in 1556 subject to his own life interest. John died in 1584, (fn. 211) and was succeeded by one of his nephews and co-heirs, Richard Elyot of Albury. (fn. 212) The latter's son Richard Elyot the younger died in February 1612–13, (fn. 213) and his heirs sold the rectory in the following year to Sir Roger James, kt., (fn. 214) who was succeeded in 1636 by his son Roger. (fn. 215)
In 1679 it was settled on his son Haestreet James on his marriage. Haestreet died in 1721. In 1730 his son of the same name conveyed the land, but not the tithes (fn. 216) nor advowson, to Sir Thomas Scawen. (fn. 217) The tithes are said to have been sold in 1720 to Sir William Scawen, uncle of Sir Thomas Scawen, (fn. 218) who left them by will to the latter. He gave them to his brother Robert, in whose hands the whole of the rectory was therefore reunited. Under his will, however, the land was sold in 1780 to Gawen Harris Nash, (fn. 219) who bequeathed it to his cousin Charles Goring, from whom it was purchased by Charles Birkhead of Walton-on-Thames. (fn. 220)
The tithes were sold separately in 1787, (fn. 221) and are now said to be divided among twelve different owners.
The church of ST. MARY MAGDALEN, which ranks with Farnham, Godalming, St. Mary's Guildford, Dorking, Kingston and Lambeth, as one of the largest ancient parish churches in Surrey, is chiefly constructed of the soft calcareous sandstone quarried in the locality, with modern dressings and refacing (as in the tower) of Bath stone, its roof being still for the most part covered with the stone slabs usually called 'Horsham,' but somewhat similar to stones which were also dug in the Middle Ages from the Surrey Hills. (fn. 222) The church was repaved and repewed in 1770, owing to a legacy left by Mrs. Mary Okes of Redstone, and at this time the building was full of galleries to which, between 1804–18, others were added, disfiguring alterations being made in the structure, and the tiebeams of the roofs removed, nearly causing the nave to collapse. From Cracklow's view of about 1824, it would appear that the walls were at that date plastered externally for the most part. The church underwent a very destructive 'restoration' in 1845, under the late Mr. H. Woodyer, and between 1877 and 1881 was again completely restored, chiefly under the direction of the late Sir Gilbert Scott, the latter's work being in the main of a conservative character, some of the mischief of the earlier 'restoration' being undone. At the time of writing further works are in contemplation, involving the extension of the north aisle and the building of an organ chamber.
The plan presents many curious and puzzling features. It consists of a nave, 77 ft. 6 in. on the north and 77 ft. on the south side, 18 ft. wide at the west end, and spreading in width to 20 ft. at the east, the walls being 2 ft. 6 in. thick; north aisle of the same length, 11 ft. 8 in. wide at the west, and 12 ft. at the east end; a south aisle of the same length by 15 ft. 6 in. wide; western tower 15 ft. from west to east by 14 ft. 6 in., the walls being 4 ft. 9 in. thick; south porch 10 ft. by 7 ft. 6 in.; chancel 44 ft. 6 in. by 19 ft.; north chapel 30 ft. by 15 ft. 3 in. at west and 15 ft. 6 in. at east; south chapel 30 ft. 6 in. by 15 ft. 6 in. at west, and 16 ft. 3 in. at east. On the north of the north chapel is that comparatively rare feature—a vestry, or sacristy, built in 1513, double-storied, 13 ft. 3 in. from north to south and 11 ft. 8 in. from east to west. From these figures it will be seen that the walls of the body of the church are not parallel, but diverge towards the east, and that this peculiarity is repeated in the outer walls of the north and south chapels. In Compton Church the divergence of the walls of the pre-Conquest nave is in the reverse direction, and in both cases it is so marked as to be evidently intentional, and not due to a mistake in setting out. The axis of the chancel inclines slightly to the north. Another peculiarity is the irregular spacing of the nave arcades, none of the columns of which are opposite to each other, the width between each pair on the north side being about 15 ft., and on the south from 13 ft. 2 in. to 14 ft. 2 in.—and this in spite of the fact that the two arcades must either have been built at once or within a few years of each other, the date of commencement being about 1180, and the execution of the work probably occupying about ten years. Three arches and three columns on the north, with the western respond, belong to this period, and four arches with four columns and both responds on the south; the two eastern arches on the north side and the easternmost arch and half the easternmost column on the south representing an extension eastwards of the nave about two hundred years later. It would appear probable that the church before 1180 consisted of an aisleless nave, the same width as the present, and about 70 ft. long, with a long chancel, possibly a low central tower and almost certainly shallow transepts. There is no proof of the early church, which was probably here in the 11th and 12th centuries, having been of stone, excepting a fragment of interlaced carving preserved in the room over the vestry, (fn. 223) but it seems likely that the arcades were pierced through existing walls. (fn. 224) There is practical certainty that they represent the church reedified on an extended plan by Hamelin Plantagenet, half-brother to Henry II, who in 1164 acquired the title of Earl de Warenne and Surrey by marriage with Isabel, the first earl's great-granddaughter. The character of the work and its resemblance to the dated work (1175–8) in the quire of Canterbury Cathedral sufficiently fix the date at about 1180, and the south arcade as the later of the two. The western respond of this is a square pier, with very peculiar foliage to its square capital, exactly like a similar square respondcapital in the quire of Canterbury Cathedral. The column next to this, which is octagonal, has a singularly beautiful capital, with moulded abacus of octagonal form, the bell of the capital being carved with foliage in a mixture of the English trefoil and the French 'Corinthianesque' variety so well represented at Canterbury. The second column—circular, with a round capital—has ruder foliage of a more experimental type curiously like one of the capitals at Carshalton Church, where the work generally resembles this and is evidently by the same masons. (fn. 225) The third column is of a kind of quatrefoil plan, the four 'foils' being flat segments of a circle joined by sharp hollows, which at first sight look as though intended to receive slender marble shafts, but the evidence of the capital, the necking of which is on the same plan, negatives this idea. Here the carving is an experimental sort of stiff-leaf consisting of a row of knops on separate stalks, and in this case alone the upper member of the abacus is square-edged in section, with pear-shaped members below, all the other abaci excepting that of the west respond of the north arcade having rounded or pear-shaped members, the work recalling in these and other respects the coeval quire arcades of New Shoreham Church, Sussex. The respond of this south arcade, of octagonal section, was turned into a whole pillar when the nave was extended eastwards in the 14th century, and the eastern half of the capital has been fashioned in accordance with the prevailing style, but a crosslet carved upon the south face of the cap is modern, having been cut by a workman in 1845 out of a projecting knob of stone originally hidden in the west wall of the demolished transept. Both arcades were practically rebuilt stone for stone at the later restoration by Sir Gilbert Scott, and a piece of interesting evidence was then obliterated in the shape of a vertical joint from top to bottom of this hybrid pillar, by which the two dates were clearly displayed. The eastern arch, which has no respond, but dies into the chancel arch pier, is of two hollow-moulded orders, with a deep hollow between. What gives the original arches of this south arcade additional interest is that the outer of their two orders is carved with conventional palm-branches which form an ornamental band all round, exactly as in the arches of the north quire arcade at New Shoreham, the only instance of the employment of this ornament now remaining in Surrey, although formerly it was to be found as the hood-moulding to the prior's doorway at St. Mary Overy, Southwark. (fn. 226) All the bases have been restored, from evidence found by Sir Gilbert Scott. The arches themselves are pointed, and have a pear-shaped member on the angles of the inner order, and a quirked hollow to the outer order on the aisle side.
On the north side the arcade is somewhat differently treated, and probably was not begun till the south arcade was finished. Its arches, also pointed, are of two orders, but with narrow chamfers in place of mouldings, stopped just above the springing; the western respond also is semicircular on plan instead of square as on the south side, the three succeeding columns being alternately octagonal and circular, and the fourth or easternmost, which, with the two eastern arches, belongs to the period 1380–1420, is again octagonal. In the capitals the sections of the abaci and the character of the foliage are of the same early type, but not so experimental in design as on the south side. No other work of this interesting early period remains in the church, except a voussoir of one of the entrance doors with quirked hollow and bold bowtell mouldings, now preserved in the chamber over the vestry. The original aisles were comparatively narrow, and the outer walls of the north aisle, with a lean-to form of roof, probably stand on the old foundations; but the south has been rebuilt on a much higher and wider plan, with a span roof of low pitch. The west window of the north aisle is an insertion of about 1280, as is evidenced by its internal hood-moulding and corbel heads.
Work of the succeeding period (c. 1320) is found in the north and south chapels, which are earlier than the main chancel and the arcades which divide them from it, and must therefore have been coexistent with the early transepts, central tower, and chancel. In the north chapel is the only window in the church retaining its original net tracery, of about 1330, in the soft Reigate stone. It is of two lights, wide and lofty, the central ogee-shaped figure of the head being octo-foiled and the ogee heads of the lights having similar foliations. The tracery of the two two-light windows in the opposite south chapel wall, with ogee heads and an ogee quatrefoil over, is modern, but apparently a restoration, although the mouldings and their stops inside are old, and the character of the work suggests a slightly earlier date, c. 1320, which is borne out by that of the niche, or sedile, and piscina in its south wall. Both side chapels probably had sculptured stone reredoses, and remains of that in the north chapel, together with niches right and left of the window and beautiful fragments now in the room over the vestry, date from this period. The buttress at the end of the south wall of the south chapel is an old one restored, but that on the east face is modern; and the east window of this chapel, which in Cracklow's view is shown as with wooden bars in place of tracery, is now fitted with tracery of early 14th-century character.
Late in the 14th century and at subsequent dates in the 15th century, extensive alterations and extensions took place. The central tower was removed, the present fine and lofty western one taking its place, the south aisle re-built on an enlarged scale, with a new porch, and the north transformed by the insertion of five two-light windows; the chancel was extended eastwards or perhaps only rebuilt, and the arches from it opening into the side chapels were made to take the place of earlier arches. At about the same date the extension of the nave and aisles eastward, which as above mentioned involved the destruction of the early central tower and transepts, was carried out, and this probably caused the chancel to be pushed out a bay further to the east. It also necessitated the building of the present lofty chancel arch and of new arches opening from the nave aisles to the north and south chancels. A striking feature is the series of three steps stretching across the church from wall to wall at the entrance to the chancel and chapels. The south wall of the south aisle contains four handsome threelight windows with arched heads and super-tracery, renewed in Bath stone, and there is another in the west wall. The buttresses are also of this period, with one exception, which is modern. This south wall was heightened early in the 19th century. The second bay from the west is occupied by a small but wellproportioned porch which has an outer doorway, with pointed arch, beneath a square label, with traceried spandrels, above which is an image niche.
The north wall of the north aisle is lower, and the windows, of two lights with segmental heads, are plainer than those in the opposite wall. All these works, which externally at least entirely changed the appearance of the church, were probably spread over the period c. 1380 to c. 1480, but the bulk appears to have been done before the end of the 14th century, the extension of the chancel showing many points of resemblance to the contemporary work in Arundel parish church and the Fitzalan chancel, especially in the handsome range of sedilia and piscina, with their ogee-crocketed canopies, pinnacles, and miniature vaulting. These are elaborately coloured and gilt, in attempted reproduction of the original decoration. Adjoining, on the east wall, is a beautiful stone reredos, brought to light in 1845, previously to which it had been concealed by a later altar-piece and a coating of plaster. It is about 8 ft. in height and is in two stages, the lower plain stone panelling consisting of a series of shallow-arched compartments, with a blank space in the centre for the altar; and the upper of ogee-crocketed niches, with finials and slender pinnacles, six narrow ones on either side of a wide central niche, with pedestals in their sills, no doubt originally containing images of the twelve apostles, now represented by modern figures painted on the backs of the niches, and our Lord, or the Blessed Virgin and Child, in the centre. Above is an enriched cornice, with carved paterae and a cresting of the Tudor flower ornament. This reredos is flanked by large and lofty canopied niches, originally containing figures of the patron and another saint; and over them, right and left of the east window, are others which also had images. The whole of this stone tabernacle work, which was most elaborately decorated in gold, silver, and colours, was somewhat harshly restored in 1846, and the original colouring scraped off, while at the same time the great east window, of six handsome lights under a pointed head of 15th-century date, was replaced by one of five lights in an incongruous late13th-century design, the east windows of the north and south chancels being similarly treated. (fn. 227) The result is most unhappy and historically misleading. The north and south windows of the sacrarium, of three transomed lights and dating from about 1400, were fortunately spared and give some idea of the character of the destroyed work. The piers of the quire arches and of those between the nave and aisles and the chancels are of the quatrefoil plan, with hollow mouldings between the shafts, commonly met with in the work of this period, the arches being moulded with the double ogee bands and deep hollows and having grotesque heads of monkeys and other animals as terminations to the hood-mouldings. Besides the three steps at the entrance to the chancel there is another in the middle of the quire, and a fifth at the sacrarium, while the altar is elevated on a pace, and these appear to be the ancient levels.
The tall, handsome western tower, perhaps the best of its period in Surrey, was built before the end of the 14th century. It has lost interest through having been refaced with Bath stone by Sir Gilbert Scott, who found the original Reigate stone much weathered and coated with brown cement; but the original mouldings and other features were reproduced with painstaking exactitude, even to a singular group of grotesques upon the wall-surface on the north side. The tower is in four stages, the two lower open to the ceiling, and including a good tracery window of four lights and a large west doorway. In the topmost stage are tall two-light openings under pointed arches, with tracery in the heads, and transoms. The stage below has a small square-headed window. There is a pair of buttresses at each angle, save on the east side, which stop at the string-course below the top stage, and from the north-west angle rises an octagonal stair turret, formerly capped by a lead cupola, which was removed at the restoration, its place being taken by a spirelet and vane. In the cornice beneath the battlements carved paterae are introduced, and the hood-mouldings of the windows have square stops, not very common in Surrey. They occur in a window of this period in the south wall of the nave at Chelsham, Surrey.
The vestry is entered by a doorway in the north wall of the north chancel, over which is a brass plate with a Latin inscription, which may be translated as follows:—
'Be it remembered that in the year 1513 John Skinner, gent., as well as with £10 given for the soul of Richard Knight, 40s. for the soul of William Laker, Esq., with 18s. 6d. for the soul of Allice Holmenden, also with 13s. 4d. for the soul of George Longeville, left to be disposed of by the aforesaid John Skinner, as well as with 103s. and 4d. of his own money for the souls of his own parents, hath for the honour of God caused this porch to be built. On all whose souls God have mercy.—Amen.' (fn. 228) This 'porch' or vestry is of two stories, the upper being fitted up to contain the valuable parish library, established in 1701 by Mr. Andrew Cranston, then vicar both of Reigate and Newdigate, the vicar himself being librarian. It was founded for the use of the clergy of the old rural deanery of Ewell and of the parishioners, and the books now number about 2,300 volumes, a large proportion of which were contributed by all the neighbouring gentry during the first year of the library's existence. The names of Sir John Parsons, Mr. Speaker Onslow, the Evelyns, Mr. Jordan of Gatwick, Scawens and Thurlands are found among the donors. The lesser folk of the town contributed after their fashion to the upkeep of the library and its contents, for, according to the register, Russell the blacksmith gave the bar and fastenings to the window; and Ward, the Reigate carrier, 'cheerfully carried all parcels gratis from London to the library.' There are a few MSS., and some early printed books, but perhaps the most interesting item is the first Lord Howard of Effingham's Prayer Book, the Psalms at the end of the prayers bearing date 1566. The book appears to have been retained till about the middle of the 17th century in the use of a member of the Howard family, for an old metrical version of the Psalms, printed in 1637, is inserted at the end. The coat of arms impressed on the original covers is that of the Howard family, quartering Brotherton, Warren, and Bigod; the initials W.H., the encircling garter, and the old Howard motto, Sola Virtus invicta, indicate the first possessor of the book. The volumes are chiefly standard theology of the 17th and 18th centuries including such controversial works as Bugg's Quakerism Drooping; but also including history, classical authors, travels and literature in general. There are a few curious MSS., such as Stephen Birchington's Historical Collections, c. 1382, with the satirical homily on Scottish affairs. This was presented by Mr. Jordan of Gatwick, and presumably came out of Reigate Priory originally, whence also a MS. Vulgate may have come. The library is open for reference or consultation of books on the spot on application to the vicar. In this upper room, as already mentioned, are deposited many architectural fragments found in 1845 and 1877, ancient keys and other curiosities. The door to this vestry from the north chancel has a good pierced tracery lock, with chiselled straps having square rosette bolt-heads coeval with the vestry. Most of the external stonework, which is in the soft local stone, seems to have been renewed, but the three-light window, with square heads and shields as label terminations, and iron stanchions and cross-bars, and the adjoining ogee-headed doorway in the east wall of the lower story, appear to be original features.
The roofs have been greatly interfered with in the successive 19th-century alterations, but the chancel roof, now concealed by an arched and panelled ceiling of wood and plaster, dating from 1845, is ancient (c. 1380) and of massive construction, there being between each pair of rafters a plank of oak with the remains on the whole of decoration in vermilion. Its original tie-beams have been removed and iron tierods substituted. The south chapel roof is of early 14th-century date, but is concealed by modern boarding, leaving the heavy cambered tie-beam and king-post visible, the latter having a capital and base, moulded in a peculiar fashion. The roof of the north chapel is modern, as are also those of the aisles and the greater part of the nave roof; but the original timbers of late 14th-century date in the latter have been grouped together at the western end. All the tie-beams are modern, the old ones having been sawn off early in the 19th century, much to the injury of the fabric. The three screens extending across the openings to the chancel and chapels are good examples of 15th-century woodwork although much restored. They are of oak, heavily moulded with traceried and boarded lower parts, and tracery in the heads of the square upper panels. The moulded and nail-studded oak doors in the west doorway are original.
The church must have been rich in painted decoration, on walls, roofs, and fittings, but nothing of this is now visible. A record has fortunately been preserved of the original decoration upon the stone reredos and the adjoining niches, (fn. 229) giving the chief colours as blue, vermilion, and green, with powderings of stars, rosettes, and fleurs de lis in gold and silver. 'The centre niche is coloured vermilion, powdered with silver stars. The thirteen pedestals are green ornamented with rosettes of gold. The niches on each side' of the centre '. . . are coloured vermilion, but without stars.' The groined canopies were coloured blue, the bosses being gilt. 'The background above the niches is filled with a flowing pattern of great elegance upon a slate-coloured ground, grey stalks, and grey and red flowers; a sash of red and gold running above, being coloured cobalt, is divided by gold paterae, each space being charged with two silver palm branches with the stems together. The foliated crest is gilt. The buttresses and pedestals of the four large niches,' i.e. those right and left of the window, 'are painted murrey colour, and have silver panels on them, ending in ogee heads, with singularly ugly tracery and silver flowers springing from the apex of each ogee. The triangular cinquefoil heads above terminate with a buttress and crocketed finial in the centre, and terminate below in a gilt rose. The backs of these four niches are painted blue, . . . with a diaper composed of thin gold embossed, four leaves making a pattern, which was again powdered with silver stars of an inch and a half diameter, having six rays, each ray embossed and laid on separately;' under these four niches were apparently the names of the saints whose images they were made to contain, the letters RIE—probably part of the name MARIE being visible under one of them. 'On one of the twelve small niches, that to the right of the centre, the letters IHC are very plainly to be seen in gold upon the pedestal.' 'A very fine encaustic tile was found in the rubble work with which the niches were stopped up, and an octagonal column and capital of about six inches in diameter painted all over each surface of the octagon, having flowers and crosses alternately of red and silver, and upon the angles between them lozenges of blue.' The canopied niches of the north chancel, remains of which were brought to light in 1845, and also a fine stoup to the east of the south door in the aisle, in 1873, were found to have been richly coloured and gilt. The shields with painted coats of arms on the chapel ceiling are modern.
There is no ancient glass remaining in the church, and the modern stained glass is not of a very high class; the east window in particular, which dates from 1845, is interesting as an early essay in the revived art of glass painting, but in itself is very ugly, and the same may be said of the east window of the south chapel.
The font, at the west end of the south aisle, is modern, and copied from an unfortunate model, the octagonal bowl and stem being carved with flamboyant tracery and the bowl with twentyfour grotesque heads leering and putting out their tongues. In old work this sort of thing might be deemed quaint, but in a modern font it is surely rather childish. The pulpit, lectern, altar, and quirestalls are modern, but some carvings imported from Belgium are worked up into the latter. The large organ almost fills the western part of the north chapel, hiding the large monument on its northern wall. All the seating in the church is modern. The oldest monument in the church is a stone coffin lid, of 13th or 14th-century date, now lying in the tower.
The John Skinner who helped to build the vestry had an inscription in his memory, no longer to be found: 'Orate pro animâ JohŃ Skynner generosi qui obiit 8 die mensis Martii, 1516, anno regis Henrici octavi octavo, cujus anĉ propicietur Deus.—Amen.' Another formerly existing inscription ran: 'Here lieth buried Mary, the wife of George Holmeden, of Longfield, in the Countie of Surrey, gent., and one of the daughters of John Skynner, late of Rigate Esq., deceased, while he lived, who departed this mortal life at Riegate, 1578.' There was also formerly a monument containing various escutcheons, viz., Skinner, impaling Colcoke, the same impaling Barley, Newdigate, Poyntz, &c., and bearing the inscription on brass:
'This monument was erected by Alice, one of the daughters of John Poyntz, of Alderley, in the County of Gloucester, Esq. in memorie of hir loveing husband Joh Skynner, Esq., the onely sonne of John Skynner Esq., one of the Clerk-controvlers of the household to the high and mighte Prince Queene Elizabeth, which John deceised the 19 day of May, A.D. 1584.'
This John Skinner represented Reigate in the Parliament of 14 Elizabeth, and his monument is referred to again by Manning and Bray (fn. 230) as follows: 'At the east end of the north chancel is a large altar tomb of Sussex marble, on each side are 3 coats of arms, and one at the end, but entirely defaced. The inscription also round the edge (if in reality there ever was one) is totally illegible.' (fn. 231) On a brass plate in a gravestone in the chancel, prior to 1804, was inscribed:—'Orate pro Anima Katherine Skynner Vidve, nuper uxoris Johannis Skynner Armigeri que obiit viii. die Septembris Ao. 1545. Cujus a'ie propicietur Deus. Amen.' Another bore the following:—'Pray for the soule of Elizabeth Skynner, second wife of James Skynner, of Rigate, Esq., which Elizabeth deceased the 29 of Avgvst in the yeare of ovr Lord God 1549. On whose soule Christ have mercy. Amen.' And on another were the words: 'Here lieth buried James Skynner of Rigate in the Countie of Surrey, Esquire, which died the xxx. day of July in the year of ovr Lord God 1558. Upon whose sovle ovr Lord have mercy. Amen.'
None of these inscriptions are now known to be in existence. The Skinners became possessed of the impropriation of the rectory of Reigate shortly after the dissolution of the Priory of St. Mary Overy, Southwark.
The Elyots of Reigate and Albury, who were connected by marriage with the Skinners, left a tomb which till 1845 stood against the north wall of the sacrarium, but was then taken down, its beautiful canopy destroyed, and the remains, including the recumbent figures of the two Richard Elyots, father and son, who lived at the mansion called the Lodge and died respectively in 1608 and 1612, placed in the north chancel. (fn. 232) The statue of the father, with hands joined in prayer, is a good piece of work. Upon the front of this tomb were the kneeling figures of Rachel, widow of Richard Elyot, senior, daughter of Matthew Poyntz, of Alderley, Gloucestershire, and their six surviving daughters.
Close by this in the sacrarium was the tomb, with a canopy of alabaster or coloured freestone, of Katherine the fifth daughter of Richard Elyot the elder, erected by her sister Rachel, wife of Roger Trappes, late of Chatham. (fn. 233) The kneeling figure, a good example of the dress of the period, and finely carved—the features showing a family likeness to those of the other Elyot effigies—is now very incongruously placed in the niche, or sedile, in the south chapel. She 'put off this mortal life at her age of 28 years,' A.D. 1623. Above these Elyot tombs in the sacrarium was a tablet to Sir Edward Thurland, kt., solicitor to James, Duke of York, afterwards James II, and a baron of the Exchequer. (fn. 234) His only son Edward was married to Elizabeth, another daughter and co-heiress of Richard Elyot, who died in 1641. Edward died 1682, his son Edward Thurland, gent., in 1687, leaving three sons, the eldest of whom, Edward, 'married Frances daughter of Sir Edward Alford of Offington, Sussex.' Frances died in 1694, and their son Edward, the last of the race in the male line, 19 December 1731, aged 62. Their tombstones lie before the altar.
On the left of the Elyot tomb, at the east end of the north chapel, is that of Sir Thomas Bludder and his wife Mary, the daughter of Christopher Herries, esq., of Shenfield, Margaretting, Essex. Sir Thomas, who was First Commissioner of the Victualling Office in the reign of James I, purchased the manor of Flanchford (q.v.) His wife died Saturday, 25 October 1618, and he just a week later. In a window sill in the north chancel is the diminutive figure of a female child, removed from its position at its parents' feet on this monument. Over the vestry door was the tablet to the memory of Sir Thomas Bludder, the younger (died 29 September 1655), erected by his third wife, Elizabeth daughter of Robert Bret.
There is a small brass inscription on the north wall of the north aisle: 'To the memory of Anthony Gilmyn. 23 August 1575.' It is said that there was formerly a second tablet bearing this inscription on the north side of the chancel.
The monument to Richard Ladbroke, esq., of Frenches (d. 1730), unfortunately almost entirely hidden from view by the organ, is a fine piece of 18th-century allegorical sculpture, costing £1,500. It stands against the western part of the north wall of the north chapel. That 'zealous member of the Church of England' is habited in Roman costume and attended by Justice and Truth, with angels, and trumpets, suns and palm-branches.
There is a monument, formerly in the south chapel, but now in the bell-ringers' chamber, to Lieut. Edward Bird, d. 1718, whose claim to fame rests on the fact that he 'had the misfortune to kill a waiter near Golden Square,' in a disreputable tavern, and was hanged for this deed in February 1718, thereby achieving what a writer unkindly calls 'a County History immortality.' Bird, who was a lieutenant in 'the Marquis of Winchester's regiment of horse,' appears against a background of warlike instruments, a half-length figure, truncheon in hand, in armour, full-bottomed wig, with a cravat round his neck, which popular belief has converted into a halter. (fn. 235)
In a large vault beneath the chancel (fn. 236) lie buried Lord Howard of Effingham and the first and second Earls of Nottingham. It is strange that although Lord Howard left directions that a monument should be raised to him, neither he nor his family had been commemorated in this fashion, until in 1888, the tercentenary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada, a brass tablet was set up on the south wall of the sacrarium in memory of Elizabeth's famous Lord High Admiral. There are three lead coffins in the vault, standing one upon another, and 'the lowermost of the three is supposed to contain the body of the first Lord Howard of Effingham, who died in 1573, as the other two are known by their inscriptions.' (fn. 237) One of the other coffins bears the following inscription: 'Heare lyeth the body of Charles Howarde, Earle of Nottinghame, Lord High Admyrall of Englande, Generall of Queene Elizabethe's Navy Royall att Sea agaynst the Spanyard's invinsable Navy, in the year of our Lord 1588; who departed this life att Haling Howse, the 14 daye of December, in ye yeare of oure Lorde 1624. Œtatis sve 87.'
There are many other tablets and other memorials in the church and bell-chamber, but of no special interest.
A few masons' marks and other scratchings are visible internally, as in the porch, where interlaced triangles are found, and the soft Reigate stone has in general preserved the axe and broad chisel tooling in the early work of the nave arcades.
The eight bells were recast in 1784, but the first bears date 1789. Their inscriptions record consecutively the names of the donors, contributors, vicar, churchwardens and founder, Robert Patrick of London. In the Edwardian inventory it is recorded that there were 'In the steple iiij belles and ij hand belles.'
The plate is modern, with the exception of a silver spoon-strainer, of c. 1770, resembling one at St. John's, Richmond, being originally intended for removing obstructions from the spout of a teapot.
The registers, which commence in 1546, contain many entries of exceptional interest relating to the Howard interments. (fn. 238)
The churchyard is of great size and is still used for interments. It contains many 18th-century and later monuments, among them an obelisk to Baron Maseres (d. 1824), the editor of some valuable tracts relating to the periods of Elizabeth and Charles I.
The chapel of St. Cross on Reigate Heath was formerly known as Mill Chapel, the original building used having been a mill. There is also an iron church on the heath. These are both served from the church.
The church of St. Mark, built in 1860, is in stone in 14th-century style, with chancel, nave, aisles, transepts, and tower with a slender spire.
A mission church in Nutley Lane was built and endowed as a chapel of ease to St. Mark's, chiefly at the cost of the late Mr. W. Phillips.
The church of St. Luke, South Park, was built in 1871 in a style similar to that of St. Mark's.
St. John the Evangelist, Redhill, built in 1843, is of white brick and Caen stone. It was restored, the chancel rebuilt, and the roof raised, and a new front built in 1889 by the late Mr. J. L. Pearson. The tower and spire were completed in 1895. The seven stained windows in the chancel were finished in 1907. The church was originally designed in 15th-century style.
St. Matthew's Church, Redhill, is in Reigate and Bath stone, in 14th-century style, with a tower and spire.
Holy Trinity Church, Redhill, in memory of the Rev. Henry Brass, vicar of St. Matthew's, is of red brick and Bath stone in 15th-century style. It is still incomplete.
No church is mentioned in the Domesday Survey of Reigate, but in the latter end of the 12th century, Hamelin Earl Warenne with his wife Isabel, greatgranddaughter of the first Earl Warenne, granted the church of 'Cherchesfeld' to Southwark Priory. (fn. 239) The right of presentation remained with the successive priors until the dissolution of the house in October, 1539. (fn. 240)
A vicarage had been ordained before 1291. (fn. 241) The vicar was to provide a second priest. (fn. 242) In 1347 Bishop William of Wykeham issued a monition to the parishioners against forsaking their parish church to attend mass at the chapel of Reigate Priory. (fn. 243)
After the surrender of the priory the advowson was still held by the successive owners of the rectory (q.v.), but, perhaps in 1724, it was separately sold to the Rev. John Bird, then vicar. (fn. 244) His executors, widow, and his widow's second husband, presented successively till 1782, unless it was the son of the last who then presented. The Rev. Geoffrey Snelson, instituted in 1782, married a daughter of the patron, and inherited the advowson. His wife Mary joined with Anne wife of John Marshal in a conveyance of it to William Bryant in 1788, (fn. 245) but it reverted to the Snelson family, who owned when Brayley wrote, c. 1842. It is now in the hands of the Church Patronage Society.
The other churches of which particulars have been given are all in the gift of the Bishop of Rochester.
Smith's Charity was formerly distributed in Reigate as in other Surrey parishes, but it has been diverted to the school.
1663: Mrs. Philippa Booker left £6 14s. yearly for twelve poor women over sixty. James Relf about doubled the benefaction at an unknown date.
1673: Mrs. Magdalen Cade left £100 for bread, since applied for apprenticing boys and girls.
1698: Robert Bishop left two houses for bread, and one house for teaching poor boys; both since applied to the school.
1717: Mrs. Susanna Parsons left £2 yearly to poor girls in the charity school, or in default to poor widows.
1718: John Parker left £500 invested in land for the school.
1730: Richard Ladbroke left £5 yearly for keeping up family monuments, the residue for bread. This has been since employed for apprenticing. He also left £1 yearly for repairing the church bell ropes.
William Cooke, at an unknown date, left money for bread in Reigate and Buckland charged on a long leasehold which expired in 1862, when the annuity ceased.
1820: Francis Maseres, Cursitor baron of the Exchequer, gave £1,010 to provide for sermons after evensong in Reigate Church, and for bread to the poor.
1835: Sir James Alexander left £200 for the poor. — Charrington, esq., left a charity, extinct by the cessation of long annuities in 1860.