The village name 'Crawley' is Anglo Saxon in origin, and means 'clearing frequented by crows'. In the Domesday Book of 1086 the village was referred to as Crauelai. In manorial records in 1197 the area was split into Great Crawley and Little Crawley. The prefix 'North' was added later to distinguish the village of Great Crawley from the town of Crawley in West Sussex; the hamlet of Little Crawley still exists under that name.
Anciently North Crawley was the location of a monastery dedicated to St Firmin. The monastery was recorded in the Domesday Book, though had fallen into such decay by the Dissolution of the Monasteries that little notice was taken of it, and it fell into ruin shortly afterwards.