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Reagill  (Raynard’s Gill) is an attractive and historical ridge-top settlement  with Roman road, historical buildings and field systems, lovely sweeping views of  the Eden  Valley and the Pennine Range and Lakeland Fells.

Historical Background to REAGILL, CUMBRIA.

Reagill is a planned mediaeval village.  It was established in the 12th century in a hitherto wild and densely forested area, its name meaning ‘ravine haunted by foxes’, as part of a royal policy to bring more people and new settlements to an area disputed between England and Scotland.  Clearing the land and establishing villages brought extra revenue for the King’s Exchequer and additional manpower for his army in times of need.

None of Reagill’s present buildings are 12th century but the plan of the village and its field system are clear evidence of a deliberately planned settlement of that date with an arranged pattern of individual farmsteads in the village itself, each with its own cultivation strip, and, outside the village, open fields which provided the communal grazing on which the economy of the village depended.  

Later subdivision and enclosure, brought about by an Enclosure Act of the 19th century, replaced the open fields but the character of the land and the name ‘Reagill Common’ perpetuate the communal life which dominated the surroundings of the village for nearly 700 years and  give the village both a distinctive character and great historical and geographical interest.

Many of the present buildings in Reagill date from the 17th and 18th centuries and are typical of the limestone farmhouses of the area but three are of special importance.  Yew Tree Farmhouse was formerly the home of Thomas Bland, gentleman farmer, artist, and antiquary, who lived from 1799 to 1865 and whose drawings of the area are an invaluable record of the antiquities, landscapes, and buildings of north Westmorland of that time. He was also the creator of the Image Garden in the grounds of his house a unique assemblage of statuary, architectural inventions, and paintings, which is on English Heritage’s Register of Parks and Gardens of national importance.  The house is Listed Grade 2.  Also Grade 2 is the village hall once a school endowed in 1684, and, higher up the List (Grade 2*), is Reagill Grange, built in the 16th century by the Wharton family on land formerly owned and farmed by Shap Abbey.

A more recent feature of Reagill’s history is a line of grassed-over spoil heaps, very similar in appearance to prehistoric burial mounds, on a ridge above the village, which are the remains of a once flourishing industry which extracted coal from shallow pits from the late 17th to the early 19th century.  Its rise and decline are recorded in the Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society by Dr Blake Tyson.  It is altogether a particularly interesting village.



 From many parts of the area the Pennine Fells form an ever-changing background and  the mountains of the Lake District are also in view.  In contrast,  the small wooded ravine of Threaplands Gill in the heart of the area has a more intimate beauty.  

For its natural beauty, its cultural heritage, and its recreational value, this area is geologically and environmentally part of the Westmorland Fells.

The Image Garden

Images of Reagill and Sleagill

Why  did we request Reagill to be included?

• The current boundary proposal is not clear on the ground.

• Crosby Ravensworth Parish should not be divided.

• The beautiful natural surroundings are worthy of best levels of protection with superb elevated views of Eden Valley, the Haweswater Fells and the Pennine range.

• Fine wildlife habitat for Red squirrels, resident and migrant field and woodland birds, wild flower meadow, limestone grassland and  verges, rare amphibians and birds of prey.

• Excellent recreation opportunities for walking and riding. Footpaths and rights of way connect the communities.

• Important cultural and historical buildings and features.

Great Crested Newt

Footpath to Maulds Meaburn

This is the area that many of us would have liked to had included in the proposed boundary variation but is a lovely place anyway!

N Morland Bank Sleagill Beck Lyvennet Reagill Sleagill

 The nationally renowned image garden, sculpted by Thomas Bland, (1798-1865), other local monuments sculpted and erected by him include the Addison monument at Maulds Meaburn, Black Dub monument on Crosby Ravensworth fell, the Victoria Jubilee monument on Beacon Hill and the Victoria monument near Shap Wells erected in 1842 that bears the statue of Britannia.

Bland held famous parties here, inviting over a thousand people to celebrate national events!

Click here for Reagill and SleagillMap Link