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 A General History of Barry Town Minimize

According to many sources Barry was given its name by the beginnings of Christianity within the Vale. In the year 700 A.D. St. Baruc gave his name to the area, upon seeking a place of seclusion he decided upon the Holm Islands; where they would return after their six week stay during Lent, during his return was unfortunate enough to experience a squall whilst in his humble boat, he thus drowned and his body was washed up on Barry Island beach. St. Baruc was buried at the highest place on the Island which became a sacred place, and the destination of many who came to pay homage. The ruins of the chapel that was dedicated to him can be found at Friars Road Cadoxton. The church of St. Cadoc who gave his name to Cadoxton has also survived the ravages of time. Prior to this Bronze Age burial mounds found at the Cold Knap and Friars Point laid testament to the people that have lived in the Barry area throughout ancient times.

Records show that Barry Island was used as a Viking raider’ base around 1087, Barry later becoming a sub-manor to Penmark, and then playing host to the invading Normans, who proceeded to reorganise the areas dividing the Vale of Glamorgan into manors and parishes. By the 12th-13th centuries Barry’ population and culture had developed into a village with its own port, church and castle, remains of the castle can be seen on the hill above at the main entrance to Romilly Park. Once the Black Death struck Barry in the 14th century, it took the population some three hundred years to recover sufficiently to once more hold the title of village, essentially a sparsely populated area with a few scattered farms and much of the land a marsh that a small river flowed through.

During 1860, when Barry was still a village and Barry Island often referred to as a huge rabbit warren, the Romilly family purchased much of the estate; their legacy for many of us being the lovely Romilly Park, near the Cold Knap. In 1864, Captain Jenner proposed to make Barry into a Pleasure Resort with an accompanying railway that would reach from Peterston to Barry and Sully, although despite the Captain' enthusiasm the proposal failed. However the railway was drafted as the Barry Bill, it was to run to the Barry Farm at Holton Road and the island at Friars Point. It was during 1864 that construction of a tidal harbour of the Barry River that flowed between the island and the mainland was also proposed. In 1877, whilst similar proposals had been approved by parliament they failed due to insufficient funding.

In the meantime vessels would take refuge from any harshness of the Bristol Channel at Barry and although no records were kept, signs show that occasionally small vessels would enter the harbour for its main export of limestone, however over the coming years Barry would change dramatically and grow famous due to its exports. The demands of the local coal industry on Cardiff Docks was not being met, with many ships having to wait for a matter of days before they could dock, it was there that the seeds of Barry Docks were sown.

During 1883, the first Barry Dock Bill was rejected at Parliament. On the 30th April, 1884, a second Barry Dock Bill was presented, and on the 25th June, 1884, a preamble of the Barry Dock Bill was passed. On 14th August, 1884, Royal Assent was given authorising the construction of the dock and on the 14th November, 1884, the first foundations were created at Casteland Point. It was during this year that the modern Barry we all know was born, it essentially consisted of three parishes, Cadoxton, Barry and Merthyr Dyfan, the population of which was a mere 478. In 1889, the first dock basin was opened, which was to be followed by two additional docks and various port installations. Barry and the surrounding area soon developed in concert with the Docks, many buildings were constructed to cater for the families of the Dock construction workers, from houses to small hospitals, soon went some way to forming a sizable town.

By 1913, mainly due to its prime location and the railway, Barry had become the famous for being the largest coal exporting port in the world, a time when the Docks were crowded with ships and modern ship repair yards, cold stores and flour mills. In 1939, Barry was made into a borough, a significant state of independence for a South Wales town.


 A short history of Barry Island Minimize

During 1873 J.D. Treharne purchased Barry Island, and in those formulative times it attracted thousands of visitors each year. Blossoming to some one hundred thousand a year during the 1890’s, due to the developments that aimed to attract visitors, in particular the railway extension from Barry Station to Barry Island. The Cardiff based ‘Yellow Funnel Fleet’ of paddle steamers which made a beautiful alternative to the very popular Taff Vale Railway, was absorbed into the fleet of vessels comprising the ‘White Funnel Fleet’ of P. & A. Campbell Ltd during the late 1890’s. (There is a book available for purchase on the subject... The Barry Railway Steamers)

By 1905 the attractions of donkey rides, punch and judy etc had the addition of a promenade, access to which was via turnstiles where the charge was reduced from one penny to half a penny, giving the promenade its popular name “The Half Penny Prom”. In 1930 Pat Collins purchased the lease for the grounds of the fairground, offering a variety of attractions and rides which continued when his nephews, Pat and John took control in 1966.

Development continued unabated over the following years, only affected by the first world war, the hurricane like winds of 1963 and natural pressures of society.


 Money Minimize

Date            Description
1888Rateable Value of £17,646. Rates 1/6 in the £
1902Andrew Carnagie donates £8,000 to Barry Town Library
1932Memorial Hall built at a cost of £23,906
1961Rateable value of £513,980. Rates 22/6 in the £


 War Minimize

Date            Description
0070-0410Romans occupied the area
0700-1090Attacks by Norsemen and pirates
1090Invaded by the Normans who landed at Porthkerry
1200Building of many stone castles around Barry, Sully, Porthkerry, Penmark and East Orchard
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 Religious Dates Minimize

Date            Description
0600Merthyr Dyfan Church was founded
0700Death of St. Baruc by drowning at Barry Island
1200Merthyr Dyfan Church refounded
1741John Wesley (1703-91 - the founder of the Methodist Church) preached at Porthkerry Church
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 Religious Officials Minimize

Date            NameNotesRole
1953Rev. W.N. Peregrine Rector of Barry


 Other Officials Minimize

Date            NameRole
1888-91J. CoreyChairman Of Barry & Cadoxton Local Board
1891-92J.C. MeggittChairman Of Barry & Cadoxton Local Board
1892-93J. RobinsonChairman Of Barry & Cadoxton Local Board
1893-94P.J. O'DonnellChairman Of Barry & Cadoxton Local Board
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 Mayor & Mayoress Minimize

Date            NameNotes
1938-39Charter Mayor, Rt. Hon. The Earl of Plymouth 
1939-40Dudley Howe, J.P.First official mayor of Barry, appointed November of 1939 when the Borough Council was formed
1939-40Dan EvansFirst deputy mayor of Barry
1940-41W.H. ButcherWilliam Butcher was an Alderman
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 General Dates Minimize

Date            Notes
1500Historians Leland and Cliffe visit Barry Island
1817Human remains found near the site of a chapel which no longer exists at Barry Island
1837Coins found near ruins of Court at Cadoxton
1864Captain Jenner proposes to make Barry the chief seaside resort
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