Epinga, a small community of a few scattered farms and a chapel on the edge of the forest, is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. However, the settlement referred to is known today as Epping Upland. It is not known for certain when the present day Epping was first settled. By the mid 12th century a settlement known as Epping Heath (later named Epping Street), had developed south of Epping Upland as a result of vigorous clearing of the forest for cultivation. In 1253 King Henry III conveyed the right to hold a weekly market in Epping Street, which helped to establish the town as a centre of trade and has continued to the present day.
The village of Epping Heath developed slowly into a small main-road town and by the early 19th century, considerable development had taken place along what is now High Street and Hemnall Street. Up to 25 coaches a day passed through the town from London en route to Norwich, Cambridge and Bury St. Edmunds. By the end of the 19th century 26 coaching inns lined the High Street. A few survive today as public houses, for example, The Thatched House, The George and Dragon, and The Black Lion. The advent of the railways put an end to this traffic and the town declined, but it revived after the extension of a branch line from London in 1865 and the coming of the motor car.
A number of listed buildings, most dating from the 18th century, line both sides of the High Street although many were substantially altered internally during the 19th century. Some of the oldest buildings in the town can be found at each end of the Conservation Area, for example, Beulah Lodge in Lindsey Street (17th century), and the attractive group of 17th and early 18th century cottages numbered 98-110 (even) High Street.