Description and History from 1868 Gazetteer
CHIPPING BARNET, (or High Barnet) a parish and market town, chiefly in the hundred of Cashio, in the county of Hertford, but partly in the hundred of Edmonton, in the county of Middlesex, 11 miles to the N.E. of London, and 8 S. from Hatfield.
It is a station on the Great Northern railway. It is situated on a lofty hill, on the great coach road to the north, and was formerly among the possessions of the abbey of St. Alban's. The abbots obtained from Henry II. the privilege of holding a market here, from which circumstance the place took the name of Chipping, i.e., cheeping or marketing. Within a mile of the town is Gladesmore Heath, the field of the decisive battle of Barnet in 1471, in which the Lancastrians were defeated and the great Earl of Warwick slain, Edward IV. being thenceforth seated on the throne. An obelisk in commemoration of the battle was erected in 1740. A previous battle had also been fought here in 1461. The situation of the town, which consists chiefly of one long street, is pleasant and healthy. There are a police station, gas-works, brewery, and brickfields. Many gentry reside in the neighbourhood, and a race-course is formed on Barnet Common, where the annual races take place on the 7th September. The living is a perpetual curacy annexed to the rectory of East Barnet, in the diocese of Rochester. The church, built by John Moote, one of the abbots of St. Alban's, about 1400, is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It is a very old building, with square embattled tower and six bells, and contains some monuments of the Ravenscrofts. There is also a church at Hadley, which forms part of the town of Barnet, and a new church on Barnet Common. The Independents have a chapel here. There is a grammar school, partly free, founded by Queen Elizabeth, and subsequently endowed by several benefactors; its revenue is about £30. In 1679 James Ravenscroft founded a hospital for six poor women, the endowment of which was augmented by a bequest of Mrs. Barcock in 1731; it has a revenue of £273. There are also six almshouses for widows, and six for aged persons, liberally endowed. The entire amount of the parochial charities is £870. Barnet is the seat of a Poor-law Union and of a County Court district, and petty sessions are held here. There is a mineral spring on Barnet Common, which was once much resorted to, and for the care of which a small annual sum was bequeathed by Alderman Owen. The market is on Monday; but now obsolete. Fairs ate held on the 8th, 9th, and 10th of April, and the 4th of September and three following days. At these fairs there is a large sale of horses and cattle, many beasts being sent up from Scotland.
[Description(s) from "The National Gazetteer of
Great Britain and Ireland" (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]
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[Last updated on 9 Oct 2003 by David Hawgood. ©2003]