County of Hertfordshire: Chipping Barnet

Pages 1-8

The Environs of London: Volume 4, Counties of Herts, Essex and Kent. Originally published by T Cadell and W Davies, London, 1796.

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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.


Extent, &c.

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 manor.

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 church.

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, Esq. 1783.

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. 1769.

In the vestry is the monument of James Ravenscroft, Esq. 1680; and on the floor a stone in memory of John Ravenscroft, Esq. (his brother), 1681.

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.

Parish register.

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.
1730–9 232/5 27 7/10
1780–9 454/5 322/5
1790–4 504/5 32

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. per annum.

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.

Jesus Hospital.

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.

Garrett's alms-house.

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.

Various Benefactions.

Date. Donors Names. Nature and present Value. Use.
Unknown. Valentine Poole. Lands let at 46l. per ann. (fn. 16) Poor.
Unknown. Thomas Pratt. Rent-charge of 2l. per ann. Poor.
Unknown. James Silverlock. Interest of 20l. Bread.
Unknown. Daniel Gregory. A house let at 2l. per ann. Poor.
Unknown. Simon Owen and Anthony Knightly. Money laid out in a barn, the site now let at 1l. per ann. Poor.
1558. Eleanor Palmer. Two-thirds of some land (fn. 17), now let at 42l. per ann. Poor.
1677. John Owen, Esq. Alderman of London, 2l. 12s. per ann. Bread.
1678. James Ravenscroft, (before mentioned). Lands now let at 14l. 14s. per ann. Repairs of his tomb, the vestry, &c.
1726. Henry Smith. 10l. per ann. Bread and great coats.
1731. Mary Barcock. 10l. per ann. Poor.


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.


  • 1. A hundred and thirty acres of the common were inclosed and leased to James Duke of Chandos, by an act of parliament passed 2 Geo. II. but on his successors neglecting to pay the stipulated rent of 50l. per annum to the parish, the inclosures were thrown down about the year 1746. The inhabitants of East Barnet have a right of pasture upon Barnet common.
  • 2. Chauncy's Hertfordshire, p. 495.
  • 3. See Gough's Camden, vol. i. p. 350.
  • 4. See its descent in the account of East Barnet, where is the manerial site.
  • 5. Newcome's History of St. Alban's, vol. ii. p. 499, 500.
  • 6. Title-deeds, obligingly communicated by Mr. Reid.
  • 7. Vol. ii. p. 499, 500.
  • 8. From 1396 to 1401.
  • 9. Arms—Arg. a chevron between three ravens heads erased Sab.—Ravenscroft. 2. Az. femée de lis and a lion ramp. Arg.—Holland. 3. Arg. three bulls heads erased Sab.—Skevington. 4. Sab. three garbs and a border Or.—Brickhill. 5. Arg. on a bend Vert three shovels of the field.—Swettenham. 6. Ravenscroft.—Under the arch, Ravenscroft impaling Per pale Az. & Gul. three lions ramp. Arg.—Smith; & Ravenscroft impaling Arg. a lion passant regardant Sab. a mount Vert.—Powell.—On the altar tomb, beneath, Ravenscroft impaling Arg on a chevron engr. Gul. three crosses formeé Arg.—Pecke, and Gul. three chevrons Vaire—Copely, impaling.—Ravenscroft.
  • 10. See more particulars of it in the account of that parish.
  • 11. Newcourt's Repertorium, vol. i. p. 804, 805.
  • 12. Newcourt's Repertorium, vol. i. p. 804, 805.
  • 13. See p. 8.
  • 14. But if there should be none found properly qualified, they may be chosen from East Barnet, or from any of the neighbouring villages.
  • 15. She left 500l. to be laid out in lands; out of the profits of which, 10l. per annum was to be given to the poor of Chipping Barnet, 1l. to the trustees for their trouble, and the remainder to the hospital. The lands purchased were at Beauchamp Ruthing; they now produce 20l. per annum.
  • 16. In 1718 they were let at 16l., in 1757 at 42l. (Table of benefactions in the church.)
  • 17. About three acres at Kentish-town, held under the prebend of Cantelows. It was formerly let at 4l. per annum; afterwards at 12l. It is now let at the above rent for 20 years from last Michaelmas.
  • 18. Monro on Mineral Waters, vol. i. p. 144.
  • 19. The following notice of the discovery was given in the public papers: "There is "lately found at Barnet, ten miles from London, an excellent purging water; it springs from a salt nitre mine; half the quantity works as effectually as that of Epsom water-mill; it is much approved of by several eminent physicians. They that have occasion to make use of it, may repair thither and have it free." Perfect Diurnal, June 5, 1652.
  • 20. See p. 5.