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High Barnet or Chipping Barnet is an area in the London Borough of Barnet, England, United Kingdom. It is a suburban development built around a twelfth-century settlement and is located Template:Convert north north-west of Charing Cross. Its name is very often abbreviated to Barnet, which is also the name of the London Borough of which it forms a part. Chipping Barnet is the name of the Parliamentary constituency covering the local area - the word "Chipping" denotes the presence of a market (one was established here in the thirteenth century and persists to this day). Barnet belonged to the County of Hertfordshire until 1965, when under the London Government Act 1963, East Barnet Urban District and Barnet Urban District were abolished and their area was transferred to Greater London to form part of the present-day London Borough of Barnet.


Chipping Barnet (parish) population
1881 4,283
1891 4,563
1901 2,893
1911 3,954
1921 4,154
1931 6,018
1941 7,845
1951 7,062
# no census was held due to war
source: UK census

The town's name derives from an ancient settlement, recorded as Barneto c.1070, Barnet 1197, La Barnette 1248, that is 'the land cleared by burning', from Old English bærnet, referring to the clearing of this once densely forested area in early times.

This was the site of the Battle of Barnet in 1471 (more accurately, Hadley), where Yorkist troops led by King Edward IV killed the rebellious "Kingmaker" Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick and Warwick's brother, John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu. This was one of the most important battles of the Wars of the Roses. Barnet Hill is said to be the hill mentioned in the nursery rhyme "The Grand Old Duke of York".

It is also the site of an ancient and well-known horse fair, whence comes the rhyming slang of Barnet Fair or barnet for 'hair'. The fair dates back to 1588 when Queen Elizabeth I granted a charter to the Lord of the Manor of Barnet to hold a twice yearly fair. The famous Barnet Market is now over 810 years old. On 23 August 1199 King John issued a Charter for a Market at Barnet to the Lord of the Manor, the Abbot of St. Albans, John de Cella.

Chipping Barnet was historically a civil parish of Hertfordshire and formed part of the Barnet Urban District from 1894. The parish was abolished in 1965 and the Chipping Barnet section of its former area was transferred from Hertfordshire to Greater London and the newly created London Borough of Barnet. In 1801 the parish had a population of 1,258 and covered an area of 1,440 acres (6 km²). By 1901 the parish was reduced to 380 acres (1.5 km²) and had a population of 2,893. In 1951 the population was 7,062.

In Saxon times the site was part of an extensive wood called Southaw, belonging to the Abbey of St Albans. The name of the town appears in early deeds as 'Bergnet' - the Saxon word 'Bergnet' meant a little hill (monticulus). Barnet's elevated position is also indicated in one of its alternative names ('High Barnet'), which appears in many old books and maps, and which the railway company restored. According to local belief, though not verified, "Barnet stands on the highest ground betwixt London and York." The area was historically a common resting point on the traditional Great North Road between the City of London and York and Edinburgh.

At the beginning of the 21st century, a tongue-in-cheek movement calling for the name Barnet to be changed to "Barnét" began to gain the attention of the public and the national media, with many public road signs in the area regularly being altered to contain the accented character. Barnet Council has been treating any such alterations to public road signs as vandalism.

Religious sites

St John the Baptist Church (built 1560), which stands in what was the centre of the town, was erected by John de la Moote, abbot of St Albans, about 1400, the architect being Beauchamp. Playing on its antiquity, it continues to call itself "Barnet Church", although this is not an official title. It is in fact the parish church of Chipping Barnet only, whilst Christ Church is the parish church of High Barnet, St Mark's is the parish church of Barnet Vale, St James's is the parish church of New Barnet, and St Mary the Virgin is the parish church of East Barnet. The parish church of St Mary the Virgin Monken Hadley (rebuilt 1494) also has parish boundaries which include a significant part of High Barnet, including much of Barnet High Street.

St John the Baptist Church
File:Thomas ravenscroft.jpg
Tomb of Thomas Ravenscroft in Chipping Barnet Church

St John the Baptist, the ancient parish church of Chipping Barnet, consists of a nave and aisles separated by clustered columns which support four pointed arches; a chancel with an east window of good Perpendicular tracery; a vestry, built in the reign of James I by Thomas Ravenscroft; and at the west end, a low, square embattled tower. In 1679, James Ravenscroft (son of Thomas) established a charity, which provides funds for the repair and maintenance of the tomb of Thomas Ravenscroft and his wife Thomasina. The church was extensively renovated in 1872, at which time the tomb of Thomas Ravenscroft was moved from the chancel to a newly built chapel.

The living of Barnet is a curacy, held with the rectory of East Barnet till the death of the last incumbent in 1866, when the livings were separated. The parish of Chipping Barnet, served by St John's Church, was provided with a chapel-of-ease in Victorian times; subsequently Chipping Barnet parish was split in two, and the chapel-of ease (on Bells Hill, Barnet) raised to the status of a parish church, dedicated to St Stephen.

James Ravenscroft

In addition to the charity established to maintain his father's tomb, James Ravenscroft (and his wife Mary) established a charity to support six "poor and ancient women".


The tower of Barnet parish church — St John the Baptist — at the top of Barnet Hill claims to be the highest point between itself and the Ural Mountains Template:Convert to the east. However, the same has been said of numerous other points. Since the opening of the railway, development has increased considerably, especially in the west of the area near Arkley.

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Barnet Hill is a major hill on the historic Great North Road. In coaching days, 150 stage coaches passed through Barnet daily. The modern Great North Road replacement the A1 avoids the town along Barnet Bypass.


Victorian Architecture of High Barnet Tube Station

There are two tube stations in Barnet: High Barnet Station, and Totteridge and Whetstone Station. They are both on the Northern Line.

Public services

Barnet is served by Barnet General Hospital which is run by Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Hospitals Trust as part of the English National Health Service. There is also a National Health Service clinic in Vale Drive (near Barnet Hill and High Barnet tube station). London Ambulance Service responds to medical emergencies in Barnet. Home Office policing is provided by the Metropolitan Police Service. Statutory emergency fire service is provided by the London Fire Brigade, which has a station on Station Road, built in 1992.

Sport and recreation

Barnet FC is the local football team, currently in Conference Premier, the fifth tier of English football - at the end of the 2012/13 season Barnet were relegated from League Two. They played at the Underhill Stadium until 2012/13 but from the 2013/14 season are playing at The Hive Stadium in Stanmore in the London Borough of Harrow. They first reached the Football League in 1991 as champions of the GM Vauxhall Conference but lost their status 10 years later with relegation, only to return four years later - again as Conference champions. Barnet also has a Non-League football team London Lions F.C..

Barnet Cricket club and Old Elizabethans CC have merged to form one club in Barnet and currently play their games at Gypsy Corner. Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers is a local athletics club. Chipping Barnet has a King George's Field in memorial to King George V. Old Court House Recreation Ground is a park in High Barnet.

High Barnet is home to an Odeon cinema, the Barnet Museum, the All Saints Art Centre, the traditional annual Barnet Fair, which was chartered in Medieval times, the Ravenscroft local park and Barnet recreational park, a now disused well that was frequented by, among others, Samuel Pepys, and many restaurants and public houses.

Cuisines on offer include Italian, French, Indian, Chinese and south east Asian. Amongst the most popular restaurants are branches of Pizza Express, Brasserie Gerard Prezzo, and Emchai (south east Asian cuisine). High Barnet also has a number of coffee/snack outlets, both independent ones such as The Coffee Bean and Oasis, as well as branches of Starbucks and Costa Coffee.

A small nightclub operated for a few years in the 1980s in the premises now occupied by The Misty Moon pub. The public houses and bars in High Barnet include: The Misty Moon, Toby Carvery, The Kings Head, The Monken Holt, The Black Horse, Ye Olde Mitre Inn, The Hadley Oak, The Nelson, The Sebright Arms, and The White Lion. The large number of inns in Barnet was a matter of note in Charles Dickens's novel Oliver Twist; it was here that Oliver met the Artful Dodger.

Local papers

The local newspapers are as of 2011-

Newspaper Link
The Barnet and Potters Bar Times
Barnet Today

The town used to be part of Hertfordshire until 1965.

See also

  • List of people from Barnet
  • List of schools in Barnet



External links

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