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Despite the discovery of Roman artifacts in the area, it is likely that Crouch End, Hornsey, Muswell Hill and Highgate all began their history as Anglo-Saxon settlements.

The Romans arrived in Britain with the Claudian invasion of AD43 and had bridged the Thames by 1855, establishing Londinium by the among the marshes and shallows of the river.

They established roads by cutting wide swathes through what later came to be called the Great Middlesex Forest, north of the Thames. The main routes that could have led to the north were present day Tottenham High Road and Edgware Road, but there is little evidence of any other roads linked to these that led to Crouch End, Hornsey, Highgate or Muswell Hill. Furthermore, the soil was also a heavy clay which did not favour arable farming for large populations.

When the Romans left in the fifth century AD, a strong migration of Anglo-Saxons took place. Using the language we call Old English, they gave place names, developed road systems and established rules of land ownership which came to define what become known as the parish of Hornsey, comprising Hornsey, Crouch End, Muswell Hill, Stroud Green and part of Highgate.

The Anglo-Saxon migration would have been by boat across the North Sea, and then by river or river valley, penetrating forests to create clearings for farmsteads and settlements to be farmed subsistently.

The name Haringey is believed to derive from "Heringes-hege" (the 'g' is pronounced as 'y'), denoting "Hering's clearing or enclosure". This settlement is thought to have started north of the medieval tower of Hornsey church, by the river known as the Moselle, which drained east into the River Lea. As spelling was not standardised and punctuation varied, Heringes-hege gave rise to over 160 other variants, such as Harringeie and (by a somewhat circuitous route) Harnsey and Hornsey.

The names Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Highgate have also had Old English origins. Muswell Hill was originally known as Pinsenoll or Pinnsknoll, meaning "Pinn's knoll, belonging to Pinn". This name co-existed briefly with the other, Meos (moss) Wielle (well) hill, indicating "Muswell Hill" to be the hill with the mossy wells, originally located where present-day 40 Muswell Road is. The name gained prominence when the well water was seen to be holy and miraculous, like the Lourdes of N10.

Crouch End, to the south of Hornsey, gave the settlement its name through the siting of a cross. (Crouch End in Old English means "Cross End"). The cross at present-day Crouch End would have marked boundaries between two manorial estates.

Crouch End, Hornsey, Muswell Hill, Stroud Green and part of Highgate made up the parish of Hornsey, controlled by the Bishop of London.

Highgate takes its name not from "High toll gate" at the top of Highgate Hill, created by the Bishop of London for the building of a road from Holloway to Barnet, but from "haia" (hedge) and "gata" (road), meaning the road through the hedge surrounding the Bishop's land.

The collective area remained largely rural until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Small and sparsely populated, Hornsey and Crouch End in particular were an attraction for middle-class Londoners seeking a place in the countryside within easy reach of their businesses. Merchants and professionals who had done well in their careers bought properties or built new ones in the wooded area, travelling by horse or coach the five miles to the city.

The area has changed with the growth of London. The population quadrupled over the nineteenth century and the hinterland was transformed for homes.

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