High Road, N12 is part of the ancient Great North Road - leading from London to Edinburgh.
The road from London which came to be known as the Great North Road played an important part in Finchley’s history. 16th century London map John Norden’s belief that the ancient highway to Barnet
followed the line of Friern Barnet
Lane was perhaps correct, since Finchley wood originally presented a barrier to travellers and Finchley’s earliest settlement was not on the line of the later Great North Road.
The change probably took place during the late 13th century or the 14th.
The hamlet of East End grew up during the 14th century at the exit of the road from Hornsey park but it is uncertain whether the route then passed directly northward across the common, as it did by Norden’s time, or whether it followed East End Road through Church End and along Ballards Lane
Pavage was granted to the townsmen of Barnet
in 1347 on the road from St. Albans to Finchley wood and to two Highgate men in 1354 for the road from Highgate to the two crosses at Finchley, extended in 1359 to St. Albans. The highway from Barnet
to the two crosses was mentioned in 1374 and a watercourse at the two crosses was obstructed in 1385. There were several crosses in Finchley: one next to the church, another near Bibbesworth on East End Road, the fair cross at Ballards Reding, and probably one at Whetstone. The southern portion of the road, from Hornsey park to East End, was called Newgate Lane by 1395 and the northernmost was Whetstone Street by 1439. The intermediate stretch across the common was usually known as the Barnet
Road and later as the Great North Road or High Road, its course probably following the highest and best-drained land.
Two routes from the south ran to Church End: Hendon Lane in the south-west, called Finchley Hill in 1659 and 1814 and probably identical with the medieval Alcockes Lane, and Ducksetters Street or Lane, mentioned from 1475, which ran from Golders Green a little west of the modern Regent’s Park Road. The two roads joined just south of Church End, where in 1365 the road was called Church Street. The road continued north to Finchley common as Ballards or Barrow Lane, so named in 1424, probably from the Ballard family of c. 1300.