Chipping Barnet began as a settlement around a fork in the road running north out of London (where the High Street meets Wood Street today).
Baernet is thought to mean a place cleared by burning. Arkley and Hadley, to the west and north, may have included settlements that predate Chipping Barnet as they appear in a rare boundary description from 1005.Little is known of the town of Barnet before King John granted a Charter to the Lord of the
Manor on 23 August 1199 for a market to be held here once a week.
The Charter was one of the earliest recorded. The town grew up around the market place at the top of Barnet Hill (to the east of St John the Baptist Church), supplying food, drink and accommodation to the farmers, traders and merchants that gathered there.
This developed into a series of coaching inns with stable yards behind. The Mitre Inn in the High Street is the oldest remaining example.