The town of Chipping Barnet lies in the hundred of Caisho,
and is situated on the Northern road, at the distance of
eleven miles from London.
The parish is bounded by Hadley, South Mims, and Hendon, in
Middlesex, and by East Barnet, Ridge, and Totteridge, in Hertfordshire. It contains about 1050 acres of land, of which 10 only
are arable, 740 pasture, and 300 waste (fn. 1) . The soil is a mixture of
gravel and loam.
This parish pays the sum of 562l. 7s. 6d. to the land-tax, which
is at the rate of about 3s. 2d. in the pound.
Market, and fair.
A weekly market (on Mondays) was granted to the Abbots of St.
Alban's, then lords of the manor, by Henry the Second (fn. 2) . It is still
continued, and is noted for its sale of pigs. There is an annual
fair on the fourth, fifth, and sixth of September, principally for
Welch, Scotch, and English cattle.
Battle of Barnet-field.
Near this town was fought, in the year 1471, the famous battle
between the houses of York and Lancaster, which terminated in the
defeat and death of the Earl of Warwick, and established King
Edward the Fourth upon the throne. An obelisk was erected near
Barnet in the year 1740, by Sir Jeremy Sambrook, in memory of
this battle. Antiquaries have differed in their opinions, nevertheless,
concerning its site, some supposing that it was fought near the obelisk; others, on Monkey Mead plain, more to the North, within
Enfield Chace (fn. 3) .
The whole of this parish, with that of East Barnet, forms but
one manor (fn. 4) , now the property of Edward Beeston Long, Esq.
Greenhill Grove alias Pricklers.
Within this parish, but adjoining to that of East Barnet, is
Greenhill Grove alias Pricklers, the seat of Andrew Reid, Esq. This
house (with the lands adjoining) was sold by the crown, in the year
1558, to John Marsh (fn. 5) , and came by descent and intermarriage to
Sir John Wolfe, who died in 1703. His great nephew Thomas
Brand, Esq. sold it to the late John Pybus, Esq. of Cheam in Surrey.
General Prevost purchased it of Mr. Pybus in 1781, and his heirs
sold it to Mr. Reid the present proprietor (fn. 6) .
The parish church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is an ancient
structure. Mr. Newcome, in his History of St. Alban's (fn. 7) , informs
us, that it was built about the year 1400, at the expence of John
Moot, Abbot of St. Alban's (fn. 8) , as a chapel of ease to East Barnet.
It consists of a chancel, nave, and two aisles, separated by clustered
columns and pointed arches. At the west end is a square embattled tower. In the nave is the following inscription, now much
mutilated: "Ora pro animâ Johs. Beauchamp, hujus operis
"fundatoris." Mr. Newcome supposes this Beauchamp to have
been the architect; might he not rather have been a contributor
to the work, or with Abbot Moot, the joint founder? Over the
arches of the nave there are several coats of arms nearly obliterated
by the whitewasher.
Against the south wall of the chancel is a monument, with Gothic
arches, supported by pillars of the Doric order, to the memory of
Thomas Ravenscroft, Esq. (fn. 9) , whose effigies (in veined marble) is
represented recumbent upon an altar tomb. He died in the year
1630, having been twice married (to Thomasine Smith and Bridget
Powell). James, his eldest son, who erected the monument, married Mary, daughter of William Peck, Esq.—his daughter Thomasine married Godfrey Copely, Esq. of Yorkshire. On the north
wall of the chancel is an altar tomb in memory of Eleanor, daughter
of Edward Cheseman, Esq. cofferer to Henry VII. married, 1. to
Edward Taylor; 2. to John Palmer, Esq. of Kentish-town; ob.
1558. On the east wall is the monument of Thomasine, wife of
Thomas Ravenscroft, 1611; on the floor are gravestones to the
memory of William Noell, Esq. of Kirkby Mallory in Leicestershire, (who married Frances, daughter of Richard Cresheld, one of
the Justices of the Common Pleas,) 1654; George Proctor, citizen
of London, 1656; his wife Sarah, (daughter of Henry Owen,)
married, after his death, to Walter York, ob. 1661; Isabel, wife of
Edward Bellew, citizen of London, 1666; George, son of James
Ravenscroft, Esq. 1683; Dame Margaret, daughter and heir of
William Marsh, Esq. and relict of Sir John Wolfe (the date concealed); and Mrs. Anne Wolfe, 1765.
In the nave are the tombs of John Marsh, Gent. of the Middle
Temple, 1685; William Woodley, 1720; and Stebbing Egerton,
In the north aisle is a monument to the memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Holmes, 1776; and the tomb of Thomas Denton, Gent.
1731. In the south aisle are the tombs of Edward Bosworth, 1653;
John Meakins, 1722; William Sumner, 1723; Henry Hart, Gent.
1727; Elizabeth his daughter, wife of George Stead, 1732; William Smith, citizen of London, 1736; and John Wilson, Esq.
In the vestry is the monument of James Ravenscroft, Esq. 1680;
and on the floor a stone in memory of John Ravenscroft, Esq. (his
In the church-yard are the tombs of Job Marsh, 1736; John
Godden Wolfe, Esq. 1742; Marsh Wolfe, Esq. 1748; and John
Batley, Esq. 1782.
The cure of the chapel.
Chipping Barnet is in the diocese of London, and in the deanery
of St. Alban's. The chapel here has been always annexed to the
church of East Barnet (fn. 10) . In the year 1471, Sir Richard Bennet,
then Parson of Barnet, "considering that in Cheping Barnet there
was then a greater number of people, and more receipt of
strangers than in East Barnet," entered into an agreement, for
himself and his successors, that they should, "on every Sunday and
Holiday sing or say, either in person or by deputy, matins,
mass and evening song at Cheping Barnet, and minister sacraments and sacramentals; and the same in their own person only,
at East Barnet (fn. 11) ." The patronage of the church of East Barnet,
with the chapel annexed, belonged formerly to the Abbots of St.
Alban's; and since the dissolution of monasteries, has been vested in
the crown (fn. 12) . Twenty-seven acres of the rector's glebe are in this
parish. The chapel of Chipping Barnet is still served by a curate,
appointed by the rector of East Barnet. The present curate is the
Reverend William Stringer.
There is no register of baptisms in this parish of an earlier date
than 1705, nor of burials earlier than 1678.
Comparative state of population.
||Average of Baptisms.
||Average of Burials.
The present number of houses is about 220, of which about twothirds are cottages and small houses.
Queen Elizabeth's school.
Queen Elizabeth, in the year 1573, gave to this parish a house
and garden (situated in the town) for a free-school, in which nine
children should be taught gratis, and all other children of the parish
at five shillings per quarter. The Queen vested the management
of this school in 24 governors. Alderman Owen, in 1677, gave
3l. per annum to the school, and the same sum annually for the
repairs of the house; and in case the physic well (fn. 13) should become
of no use to the parish, a benefaction of 1l. per annum, which he
had left to keep it in repair, to go also to the school. The Rev.
Henry Hall, in 1734, gave the sum of 100l. to this school. It was
laid out in the purchase of lands which now produce 10l. 10s.
Mrs. Allen's school.
Mrs. Elizabeth Allen, in the year 1725, gave, by will, 16 acres
of freehold land in Barnet, (now let at 36l. per annum,) to erect
or provide a school-house, and to pay a master to teach all the
children of Barnet, male and female, to read the Bible and cast
accounts. She left also towards the same endowment, a piece of
copyhold land, which fell into the hands of the lords of the manor,
and is now subject to the payment of 1 l. per annum, to the school.
In the year 1679, James Ravenscroft, Esq. being then 84 years
of age, built an hospital, or alms-house, "for six poor antient
"women, being widows or maidens," on a piece of ground which
he had bought for that purpose. Having appointed the pensioners,
he incorporated them by the name of the Sisters of Jesus Hospital,
and made one of them governess; nominating, at the same time,
nine visitors, which number he directed to be continued, the
churchwardens of Barnet being always two of that number, two
others to be elected from among the aldermen of St. Alban's, the
remainder to be gentlemen residing in the neighbourhood, but not
inhabitants of Barnet. It is directed by the statutes of the founder,
that the pensioners shall be fifty years of age, inhabitants of Barnet (fn. 14) , "neither common beggars, common drunkards, backbiters,
talebearers, common scoulds, thieves, or other like persons of
infamous life or evil name or repute; or vehemently suspected
of sorcerie, witchcraft, or charming, or guilty of perjury; nor
any ideot or lunatic." They are to take precedence, after the
governess, according to priority of admission.
The founder, by his indenture, bearing date 1679, gave certain
lands in the parishes of Stepney and Chipping Barnet for the support of this hospital, and directed that two-thirds of the profits
should be equally divided amongst the pensioners; the remainder to
be appropriated to repairs, reasonable wages for the collector, treasurer, &c. and for emergencies. If there should be any overplus
at the year's end, it is to be divided among such of the pensioners
as by age or sickness shall be most in want; allowing such a portion
to the governess as the visitors shall think reasonable. By a subsequent proviso, he allots the profits of a garden, then valued at 10s.
per annum, to the governess. In case of any great destruction by
war or fire, the visitors are empowered to diminish the pensions, or,
if necessary, for a time, not to elect any new pensioners. The present value of the lands given by the founder to this hospital is 42 l.
per annum; besides which, the trustees have a stock of 700l. 3 per
cent annuities, arising from fines for digging brick earth and
gravel. Mrs. Barcock, anno 1731, bequeathed to the poor of this
hospital, the residuary profit (after answering some specific donations) of certain lands purchased with a sum of money then given
by her (fn. 15) . This now produces 9l. per annum to the hospital.
John Garrett, Gent. by his will, bearing date 1729, left the sum
of 800l. to build and endow an alms-house for six poor widows;
the remainder, after the building was finished, purchased the sum
of 400l. in the 3 per cents. Isaac Delafont, Esq. anno 1767, gave,
by will, to the poor of this alms-house, an exchequer annuity of
36l. per annum, which will expire in the year 1808, when the
sole income of this alms-house will be 12l. per annum being the
interest of 400l. above mentioned.
Nature and present Value.
||Lands let at 46l. per ann. (fn. 16)
||Rent-charge of 2l. per ann.
||Interest of 20l.
||A house let at 2l. per ann.
||Simon Owen and Anthony Knightly.
||Money laid out in a barn, the site now let at 1l. per ann.
||Two-thirds of some land (fn. 17) , now let at 42l. per ann.
||John Owen, Esq. Alderman of London,
||2l. 12s. per ann.
||James Ravenscroft, (before mentioned).
||Lands now let at 14l. 14s. per ann.
||Repairs of his tomb, the vestry, &c.
||10l. per ann.
||Bread and great coats.
||10l. per ann.
A spring of mineral water, containing a considerable quantity of
calcareous glauber, with a small portion of sea salt (fn. 18) , was discovered
upon Barnet common about the middle of the last century (fn. 19) .
John Owen, Esq. in the year 1677, left the sum of 1l. per annum,
to keep the well in repair as long as it should be of service to the
parish (fn. 20) . It is now in decay, and the water little used.
Races were formerly held annually on the common; they had been
dropped for several years, but were last year revived.