Reeth in 1843
Reeth is a small market-town in that part of the parish of Grinton which belongs to the wapentake of Gilling-West, in the liberty of Richmondshire and the North Riding of Yorkshire, about 238 miles from London, 48 miles north-west from York, and 10 miles west by south from Richmond, on the northern bank of the Swale, about half a mile above the junction of the Arkle.
The town is irregularly built, in a highly picturesque situation, and it contains Independent and Wesleyan Methodist chapels, and two endowed daily schools, one endowed in 1643, by Alderman Richardson, of York, and the other in 1814 and 1815, by two members of the Society of Friends, the schoolroom of the latter being also used as a place of worship by persons of the founders' persuasion.
The town has a very extensive manufacture of knitted stockings, many of which are exported ; and many of the inhabitants receive employment from lead-mines in the neighbourhood, the produce of which is of great purity, and is sought after for the manufacture of white-lead, and other chemical purposes. These mines produced a few years since about 5,000 or 6,000 tons of lead annually. There is a branch of the Swaledale and Wensleydale Banking Company in the town, which has a market on Friday, under a charter of the 6th year of William and Mary, and several fairs, the days of which are variously given by different authorities.
Near the town are the remains of an entrenchment, called Maiden's Castle, about 100 yards square, and of some others, one of which is much larger ; and from some remains which have been discovered, these are supposed to be of Roman origin.
Near the town, in the hamlet of Healaugh, are the remans of a house said to have been inhabited by John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, who was lord of the manor. The population of Reeth was 1,456 in 1831, and 1,343 in 1841.