Today, our traditional pub near Reigate is best known for being one of Surrey’s most popular places to eat. However, The Skimmington Castle is steeped in history and long before we earned our mantle as the leading choice for dog-friendly pubs in the area, our hostelry on Reigate Heath drew its name from somewhat obscure origins.
Wilfred Hooper claims the site of our traditional pub is where the local custom of “Riding the Skimmington” took place. This is documented in Hooper’s book, Reigate; Its Story Through The Ages. While there is no evidence to support this, it is believed the custom derived from hen-pecked husbands being beaten with a skimming ladle during processions.
At the time, the site was called Skimmington Downs Farm and was owned by one William Perkins. Perkins had let the property to Robert Bridges prior to 1826. The old farmhouse gave way to a general store run by Bridges’ second wife. Home-brewed beer sold to local cottagers and farms was probably where our traditional pub in Reigate started.
While we cannot attest as to whether the farm was one of the more popular places to eat at the time, and while the property would almost certainly not have been known as one of the most dog-friendly pubs in the area, the property became an inn when it was signed over to Nathaniel Perkins, son of William. A commemorative tree nearby marks the agreement.
• 1861 – A census lists the property as hereditament, an item of inheritance
• 1864 – William Perkins owns and runs the beer shop and garden
• 1892 – The inn, acquired by Charles Dagnell around 1861, is mentioned in the Petty Sessional Returns of Ownership and is tied by trade to the Hornchurch
• 1905 – William Bonney, who owned the inn somewhere from 1888 to 1892, passes ownership onto the Cutforth Brothers in 1905
While the timeline of our traditional pub in Reigate is a little obscure, it’s safe to say it has been rich in local history as far back as the 17th century. We’re proud to be one of Reigate’s favourite places to eat and also for being one of the most widely-revered dog-friendly pubs in the area. We think tradition still matters and we uphold the status of this important property by adhering to time-honoured family values much like Mr William Perkins himself.
Brewery Company, of which Dagnell holds an interest