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Despite being the most suitable candidates for solenoid pole pieces in state-of-the-art superconductor- based electromagnets, the intrinsic magnetic properties of heavy rare earth metals and their alloys have gained comparatively little attention. With the potential of integration in micro- and nanoscale devices, thin films of Gd, Dy, Tb, DyGd and DyTb were plasma-sputtered and investigated for their in-plane magnetic properties, with an emphasis on magnetisation vs. temperature profiles. Based on crystal structure analysis of the polycrystalline rare earth films, which consist of a low magnetic moment FCC layer at the seed interface topped with a higher moment HCP layer, an experimental protocol is introduced which allows the direct magnetic analysis of the individual layers. In line with the general trend of heavy lanthanides, the saturation magnetisation was found to drop with increasing unit cell size. In-situ annealed rare earth films exceeded the saturation magnetisation of a high-moment Fe65Co35 reference film in the cryogenic temperature regime, proving their potential for pole piece applications; however as-deposited rare earth films were found completely unsuitable. In agreement with theoretical predictions, sufficiently strained crystal phases of Tb and Dy did not exhibit an incommensurate magnetic order, unlike their single-crystal counterparts which have a helical phase. DyGd and DyTb alloys followed the trends of the elemental rare earth metals in terms of crystal structure and magnetic properties. Inter-rare-earth alloys hence present a desirable blend of saturation magnetisation and operating temperature.