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Barry, Vale of Glamorgan

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Barry, Vale of Glamorgan

Welsh: Y Barri

A typical street in Romilly, All Saints Church pictured at the top of the hill.
 Barry shown within the Vale of Glamorgan
Population 51,502 (2011)
OS grid reference
   – Cardiff  9.9 miles (15.9 km) 
   – London  164.1 miles (264.1 km) 
Community Barry
Principal area Vale of Glamorgan
Ceremonial county South Glamorgan
Country Wales
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BARRY
Postcode district CF62–63
Dialling code 01446
Police South Wales
Fire South Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK Parliament Vale of Glamorgan
Welsh Assembly Vale of Glamorgan
List of places
Vale of Glamorgan

Barry (Barry Island. It grew significantly from the 1880s with the development of Barry Docks, which in 1913 was the largest coal port in the world.

The place was possibly named after Saint Baruc.[1] However another explanation is that it comes from the Welsh "bar" meaning a hill or rise. Therefore the Welsh name, Y Barri, means 'The Hills". Given Barry's geography, it is an apt description. The first reference to it being named after St Baruc is from Giraldus Cambriensis (Gerald of Wales). Gerald was himself from Barry and describes the area thus:

"Not far from Cardiff there is a small island just off the shore of the Severn Sea which the local inhabitants call Barry. It takes its name from St Baroc (sic), who used to live there."[2]

One interpretation of this passage, however, is that Gerald wished to enhance his own religious credentials by referring his place of birth to a well established saint.

The population of Barry in 2001 was 47,863,[3] increasing to 51,502 at the 2011 Census[4] and the town is ranked as the fifth largest locality in Wales.


  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • Medieval Barry 1.2
    • Industrial history 1.3
    • Barry Scrapyard 1.4
  • Modern times 2
  • Barry Island 3
  • Politics and administration 4
    • UK parliamentary constituency 4.1
    • Welsh Assembly 4.2
    • Local councils 4.3
  • Districts 5
  • Climate 6
  • The arts 7
  • Schools 8
    • Secondary schools 8.1
    • Primary schools 8.2
  • Sport 9
  • Transport 10
  • Nearby places 11
  • Notable people 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


Early history

The area now occupied by Barry has seen human activity in many periods of history. Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age microlith flint tools have been found at Friars Point on Barry Island and near Wenvoe[5] and Neolithic or New Stone Age polished stone axe-heads were discovered in St. Andrews Major.[6] A cinerary urn (pottery urn buried with cremation ashes) was found on Barry Island during excavations of Bronze Age barrows[7][8] and two more were found in a barrow at Cold Knap Point.[9] A large defended enclosure or Iron Age promontory hillfort was located at the Bulwarks at Porthkerry[10] and there was evidence of the existence of an early Iron Age farmstead during construction of Barry College off Colcot Road.[11]

Nell's Point

In Roman times farmsteads existed on the site of Barry Castle and Biglis and there were verbal reports of discovery of a cemetery including lead coffins with scallop-shell decoration. Both St. Baruc's Chapel and St. Nicholas Church have re-used Roman bricks and tiles incorpoarated in their building fabric[12] and a Roman villa was discovered in Llandough.[13] In 1980 a Roman building consisting of 22 rooms and cellars in four ranges around a central courtyard was excavated at Glan-y-môr and is believed to be a third-century building associated with naval activity, maybe a supply depot.[14]

The Vikings launched raids in the area and Barry Island was known to be a raider base in 1087.[15] Flat Holm and Steep Holm islands in the Bristol Channel have their name Holm name derived from a Scandinavian word for an island in an estuary. The excavation of the Glan-y-môr site revealed the site had been reused in the 6th and 7th century and also between AD 830 and 950 as a dry stone sub-rectangular building with a turf or thatched roof.[12]

Medieval Barry

The main feature of the area at this time was the island in the Bristol Channel, separated from the mainland by a tidal estuary. It is described in Giraldus Cambrensis or Gerald of Wales' Itinerarium Cambriae ("Journey through Wales", 1191). He states that Barry derives its name from St. Baruc whose remains are deposited in a chapel on the island. The local noble family who owned the island and the adjoining estates took the name of de Barri from the island.[16]

Holton Road

Following the Cadoxton and Uchelolau (Highlight).[17] The sub-manor of Barry was granted by the de Umfraville family to the de Barri family and the seat of the manor was Barry Castle, located on high ground overlooking the Bristol Channel, a site occupied in Roman times by a native homestead.[18] The castle was a small fortified manor house, built to replace an earlier earthwork. By the late 13th century the castle had two stone buildings on the east and west sides of a courtyard. Early in the 14th century the castle was strengthened by the addition of a large hall and gatehouse on its south side, the ruins of which are all that survive today.[19] By now Barry had grown into a village and port with its own church and watermill but in the 14th century its population was drastically reduced by the Black Death and the consequences of the rebellion of Owain Glyndŵr.[20] It took the population some 300 years to recover and 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.[21] By 1622 the pattern of fields, where enclosure was almost complete, around Barry village was pretty much as it was to remain until the growth of the modern town. According to the 1673 Hearth-Tax list the parish contained thirteen houses.

Panorama of Porthkerry Park with the Porthkerry viaduct

Industrial history

Barry Waterfront in July 2007

By 1871 the population of Barry was over 100, with 21 buildings, the new estate-owning Romilly family being involved in the buildup of the village but it remained a largely agricultural community.[12][22] It grew when it was developed as a coal port in the 1880s. The coal trade was growing faster than the facilities at Tiger Bay in Cardiff ever could and so a group of colliery owners formed the Barry Railway Company and chose to build the docks at Barry. Work commenced in 1884 and the first dock basin was opened in 1889 to be followed by two other docks and extensive port installations. The Barry Railway brought coal down from the South Wales Valleys to the new docks whose trade grew from one million tons in the first year, to over nine million tons by 1903. The port was crowded with ships and had flourishing ship repair yards, cold stores, flour mills and an ice factory. By 1913, Barry was the largest coal exporting port in the world.

Barry Docks

Behind the docks rose the terraced houses of Barry which, with Cadoxton, soon formed a sizeable town. The railways which had played a major part in the development of the dock helped make Barry Island a popular resort. Barry Memorial Hall on Gladstone Road was inaugurated in November 1932, and obtained its name to honour those locals who lost their lives in World War I.[23]

During its industrial peak a number of ships sank off the Barry coast.

Barry Scrapyard

Following the rise of diesel and electric power on the UK railways, the marshalling yards at Barry Docks became the largest repository of steam engines awaiting scrapping in the UK. Dai Woodham owned the Woodham Brothers Scrap yard and he allowed rail preservation organisations to buy back the locomotives at the scrap value allowing around 200 of the 300 locos to be saved for future generations, although during the years of storage many were vandalised or looted by souvenir hunters. When interviewed just before his death, Woodham was reluctant to take full credit for this and pointed out that the town of Barry with its redundant sidings was the major factor in allowing these locos to be saved.

Modern times

Barry is the administrative centre of the Barry Town United F.C..

The road from Bonvilston was originally the B4266, as only Pontypridd Road within the town still is, and the road from Highlight Park right through the Vale to Bridgend was the B4265, as beyond Cardiff International Airport it still is. Since the 1970s, parts of these roads are numbered A4226, with the result that the A4226 radiates from Weycock Cross roundabout in three directions.

The town is often associated with Woodham Brothers scrapyard, a business that helped over 200 steam locomotives survive into preservation.

Although still a port, Barry is more of a manufacturing town and as a service centre for the M4 motorway. The docks can handle vessels up to 23,000 tonnes and the first-class tidal position close to the deep-water channel of the Severn Estuary, allows for scheduled sailings. With its transit sheds, warehouses and open storage, the docks are equipped to handle bulk cargoes using high capacity grab cranes. Two roll on/roll off berths are available and have been used by routes to Ireland and West Africa.

The town has a town council which is controlled by the Labour Party.

The viaduct at Porthkerry Park was once crossed many times daily by rail transporting coal down from the Welsh valleys

The majority of industrial firms are located in the dock area. The largest are the chemical producing concerns such as Cabot Carbon and Dow Corning who have just completed the development of the largest silicones plant in Europe. Other main employers in Barry Docks are Jewson Builders' Merchants, Western Welding and Engineering, Bumnelly, Rank Hovis and Associated British Ports Holdings who, since 1982 have run the docks as successors of the British Transport Docks Board.

To the west of Barry is Porthkerry Park. This is a large area of open space, with woodlands, streams, and access to a pebbly beach. In the park is the Barry Railway Company viaduct with 13 arched spans standing 110 ft high. The Barry Railway reopened in September 2006 and provides a scenic view and link to towns such as Llantwit Major.

Barry Island

The Barry Island peninsula was an island until the 1880s when it was linked to the mainland as the town of Barry expanded. This was partly due to the opening of Barry Dock by the Barry Railway Company. Established by David Davies, the docks now link up the gap which used to form Barry Island.

There is a railway station to access the island at Barry Docks, there is also a heritage railway station which houses refurbished steam passenger trains. The railway is open to the public and holds events involving a large steam engine replica of Thomas the Tank Engine.

The Evolution ride, one of many at Barry Island Pleasure Park

Barry Island is now known for its beach and Barry Island Pleasure Park. From 1966, the island was home to a Butlins Holiday camp, which was closed in 1987 and taken over by Majestic Holidays who renamed it Barry Island Resort. Between Butlins' closure and Majestic's reopening the camp was used as for filming scenes in the "Shangri-La" holiday camp from the Doctor Who serial Delta and the Bannermen. The camp closed in 1996 after Majestic had a disagreement with the local council, who refused an entertainments licence unless work was carried out to improve the now 30-year-old site. It was redeveloped for housing between 1997–2003 with the remaining two camp buildings and outdoor pool demolished in early 2005.

Watchtower Bay

The preserved British Rail steam locomotives that were due to be scrapped. Many were sold to preservation societies. By the late 1980s, two-thirds had been saved for preservation.

The BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey was filmed in many areas of Barry and Barry Island.

Politics and administration

UK parliamentary constituency

From the Representation of the People Act 1918 created the Llandaff and Barry constituency.[25] Sir William Cope (Conservative) won the 1918 general election. Labour regained the seat at the 1929 general election when Charles Ellis Lloyd was returned but two years later lost the seat to the Conservatives' Patrick Munro.

Barry Police Station in the Jenner district

After Munro's death in 1942 Cyril Lakin won the by-election for the Conservatives. Arwyn Lynn Ungoed-Thomas (Labour) won the seat at the 1945 general election. The Llandaff and Barry constituency was abolished by the Representation of the People Act 1948.[26] and replaced by the Barry parliamentary constituency. This seat was first contested in the United Kingdom general election, 1950 when Dorothy Rees (Labour) was elected. She lost the seat to Sir Herbert Raymond Gower (Conservative) at the 1951 general election. He held the seat until its abolition in 1983.[27]

It was replaced by the 1983 general election. He remained as MP until his death in 1989. At the subsequent by-election the seat was won by John Smith (Labour). At the 1992 general election Walter Sweeney (Conservative) won it by only 19 votes. That made it the most marginal seat in Britain.[28] John Smith won it back at the 1997 general election. In the 2010 General election there was a 6.1% swing from labour to conservative. This has now handed the seat to Alun Cairns a (Conservative) MP.[29]

Welsh Assembly

Barry Dock offices

Barry is part of the Welsh Assembly.

Local councils

Barry was incorporated as a

  • Vale of Glamorgan Council
  • Barry coastguard team
  • Vale of Glamorgan Railway website.
  • Port of Barry
  • : photos of Barry and surrounding area

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^ title=Barry the Centenary Book|editor=Donald Moore|1984
  3. ^ Census 2001 : Parish headcounts : Barry CommunityOffice for National Statistics : Retrieved 10 January 2010
  4. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  5. ^ G Dowell (1971). Archaeology in Wales Volume 11 pp. 10–11. Council for British Archaeology. 
  6. ^ H. N. Savory (1948–50). Axes of Pembrokeshire Stone from Glamorganshire Volume XIII pp. 245–6. Board of Celtic Studies. 
  7. ^  
  8. ^ "Archaeologia Cambrensis Volume 28 (1873) – Table of Contents". ARCHway. Retrieved 21 April 2007. 
  9. ^ Aileen Fox (1936). An account of John Storrie's excavations on Barry Island in 1894-5 Volume LXIX (1936) pp.12–28. Cardiff Naturalists Society. 
  10. ^ Jeffrey L Davies. "An excavation at the Bulwarks, Porthkerry, Glamorgan 1968 Vol 122 (1973) pp. 85–98". Archaeologia Cambrensis. Retrieved 21 April 2007. 
  11. ^ H.J. Thomas and G. Davies (1965). Archaeology in Wales Volume 5 pp.25. Council for British Archaeology. 
  12. ^ a b c Donald Moore (1984). Barry The Centenary Book. The Barry Centenary Book Committee Limited.  
  13. ^ H.S. Owen John (1978–79). Llandough: a late Iron Age farmstead, Romano-British villa and medieval monastic grange G-GAT Annual Report pp. 27–38. Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust. 
  14. ^ G Dowell and E.M. Evans (1980–81). Glan-y-môr, Cold Knap, Barry G-GAT Annual Report pp. 1–3. Glamorgan–Gwent Archaeological Trust. 
  15. ^ "Times Past". Barry Town Council. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  16. ^ "Itinerary of Baldwin in Wales by Giraldus Cambrensis". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 21 April 2007. 
  17. ^ John Stuart Corbett (1925). Glamorgan, Papers and Notes on the Lordship And Its Members... with a Memoir. Cardiff Naturalists Society. 
  18. ^ Manorial map of Barry Glamorgan, III (part ii), p.120. RCAM (Wales) Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments (Wales). 
  19. ^ "Barry Castle". Castles of Wales. Archived from the original on 27 April 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  20. ^ Glamorgan, III (part ii), pp.215–43. RCAM (Wales) Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments (Wales). 
  21. ^ "A General History of Barry Town". Barry Town Crier. Archived from the original on 4 May 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  22. ^ "Population Statistics for Barry". Genuki (UK & Ireland Genealogy). Retrieved 22 May 2007. 
  23. ^ Gaffney, Angela (1998). Aftermath: Remembering the Great War in Wales. University of Chicago Press. p. 39.  
  24. ^ "Glamorgan Record Office Register of Electors" (PDF). Glamorgan Record Office. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 29 April 2007. 
  25. ^ "List of former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituencies". Retrieved 29 April 2007. 
  26. ^ """The House of Commons Constituencies beginning with "L. Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page. Retrieved 29 April 2007. 
  27. ^ """The House of Commons Constituencies beginning with "B. Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page. Retrieved 29 April 2007. 
  28. ^ "Vale of Glamorgan".  
  29. ^ "BBC NEWS – Election 2010 – Vale of Glamorgan". BBC News. 
  30. ^ "Vale of Glamorgan".  
  31. ^ "South Wales Central".  
  32. ^ "Glamorgan Record Office Borough of Barry records". Archive Network Wales. Retrieved 10 April 2007. 
  33. ^ "Rhoose 1971-00 averages".  
  34. ^ "National Eisteddfod of Wales Locations since 1880". Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru. Retrieved 22 May 2007. 
  35. ^ "British Pathe National Eisteddfod". British Pathe. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2007. 
  36. ^ as were the end-fight scenes from " 
  37. ^ "Square will be fit for a King", Barry & District News, 3 April 2003. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  38. ^ Art Central, Vale of Glamorgan Council.
  39. ^ "Barry Comprehensive School, 1971–98". Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  40. ^ "Primary Schools". Vale of Glamorgan Council. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 


See Category:People from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan

Notable people

  • Barry Island, a peninsula forming part of the town of Barry
  • The Bendricks, a rocky beach by the harbour
  • Sully Island, a small tidal islet a mile east of the harbour
  • Sully, a village east of the town

Nearby places

Barry is located less than 3 miles (4 kilometres) east of Cardiff International Airport.

There are four railway stations in the town: Barry, Barry Docks, Barry Island and Cadoxton. These are operated and served by Arriva Trains Wales and are on the Valley Lines network, a commuter rail network focused on Cardiff. Services operate westbound to Bridgend via Llantwit Major and Rhoose Cardiff International Airport, and eastbound to Cardiff Queen Street via Dinas Powys, Cardiff Grangetown and Cardiff Central. The latter service can continue to either Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd and/or Aberdare.

The main forms of public transport in the town are bus and rail. Barry is served by Cardiff Bus which operates services to Llantwit Major, Penarth, Cardiff International Airport and Cardiff City Centre as well as operating town circular services. Barry's King's Square bus station is located on King's Square in the town centre. The A4050 road connects Barry to Culverhouse Cross Interchange and the rest of west Cardiff.

A Cardiff Bus en route to Barry



  • All Saints Church in Wales Primary School
  • Barry Island Primary School
  • Cadoxton Primary School
  • Colcot Primary School
  • Gladstone Primary School
  • High Street Primary School
  • Holton Primary School
  • Jenner Park Primary School
  • Oakfield Primary School
  • Palmerston Primary School
  • Romilly Primary School
  • St Helen's RC Infants School (5–7)
  • St Helens's RC Junior School (7–11)
  • Ysgol Gwaun y Nant – Welsh-medium school
  • Ysgol Sant Baruc – Welsh-medium school
  • Ysgol Sant Curig – Welsh-medium school
  • Ysgol Nant Talwg – Welsh-medium school

Primary education (5–11) in Barry is provided by a number of community, Welsh-language, and faith-based schools spread throughout the town.[40]

Primary schools

Barry has four secondary schools. Since 1993, Bryn Hafren and Barry Comprehensive Schools have worked together to provide the co-educational Barry Sixth Form.[39]

David Davies statue outside Barry Dock Offices
Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School

Secondary schools


  • Series 3 – 5 of "Being Human" (2010 on) was filmed in and around Barry Island, with much of the storyline referring to the town as "infested" with werewolves and vampires.
  • The 2011 film Submarine, although set in Swansea was mostly filmed in Barry.
  • Barry hosted the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1920 and 1968.[34][35]
  • The Doctor Who serial Delta and the Bannermen was set and filmed in Barry.
  • Several scenes of the Doctor Who episodes " [36]
  • Gavin & Stacey is partly set and filmed in and around Barry.
  • Art Central, a modern art gallery run by the local council, was created in the Town Hall as part of the library redevelopment in the mid 2000s.[37][38]
  • There is a Community Arts Centre being developed Named 'Canolfan Porthceri Centre', this is being developed within the building and grounds of Porthkerry Road Methodist Church, due to the Methodist Church Moving to new premises within the Waterfront Development.
The Old Harbour

The arts

Climate data for Rhoose 65m asl, 1971–2000
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7.3
Average low °C (°F) 2.3
Average precipitation mm (inches) 95
Mean monthly sunshine hours 55 74 113 174 212 208 220 207 150 103 74 49 1,639
Source: MeteoFrance[33]

As with the rest of the British Isles and Wales, Barry experiences a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters, and often high winds. It is amongst the sunnier of Welsh locations, due to its southerly and coastal position. The nearest official weather observation station is at Rhoose Airport, about 3 miles west of the town centre.


Romilly Park


The local unitary authority, created in 1995, is the Sully (2), Wenvoe (1).

The local council, Barry Town Council, is the largest town council in Wales. It has given Olympic silver medalist David Davies freedom of the town, the first freedom granted since 1958. The mayor is Stuart Egan who represents Butrills Ward. The town council is controlled by Labour.


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