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"BAREY^ASTAND PRESENT."

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"BAREY^ASTAND PRESENT." (ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY T*. TE AUTHOR. J The following historical sketch Ox Barry was awarded the first prize (given by SL" Morgan Morgan) at Cadoxton-Barry Whit-Monday.1 fod last year ::— There is scarcely a new district in the wholO Of Great Britain which has developed, in such phenomenal proportions, into a position of com- mercial prosperity and importance more rapidly than that of Barry. Ten years ago the population of the three sister parishes of Barry,. Cadoxton, and Merthyr Dovan numbered scarcely 500\ but through the construction and opening of Barry Dock, and the establishment of several minor industries in the neighbourhood of the same, the census of 1891 showed that a thriving community numbering nearly 13,000 persons now cluster around the largest, one of the finest, and one of the most perfect and successful dock undertakings in the whole commercial world. Before entering, however, upon a detailed description of the dis- trict in its present form, I should, perhaps, give a brief account of the three or four parishes now popularly known as Barry." BARKY AND PORTHKERRY. Having spent several years amongst the many natural beauties and acquired attractions of Barry and its district, I would with confidence venture to draw the attention of the community generally thereto. Barry, the phenomenal town of South Wales, is distant about nine miles southward of Cardiff. The origin of its name is a matter of some doubt. Some think, with Cressy, that the name is derived from St. Baroche, a hermit, who is supposed to have lived on Barry Island in the early part of the seventh century. Leland says that in his time there was in the middle of the island a fair little chapel used." To-day there is not the slighest trace of the chapel or its founda- tions. Many old delineators of our land were, as I happened to know from personal experience. gifted with whatl a phrenologist once declared I possessed, i.e., The bump ot imagination formed large." They often described the natural and architectural features of places they had never seen, and often, when haying actually viewed a place, relied utterly upon local tradition, an article of little worth. I am inclined, therefore, to reject the story of St. Baroche, and his connection with Barry Isle. If such a hermit ever existed, he, to quote Mark Twain, had not quite enough with which to make an indelible mark." I contend that Barry derives its name from one of Fitzhamon's knights-Lord of the Manor of Barry -the progenitor of the family which gave to the world Giraldus de Barri. The whole thing is clear enough besides. If a St. Baroche did dwell on Barry Isle, why should he give his name to the Parish Church which is in no way connected with him ? The church itself is dedicated to St. Nicholas of Barri, the patron of the sailors. BARRY ISLAND. Upon leaving Barry Railway Station one cannot do better than visit the Island first. It contains upwards of three hundred acres of beautifully diversified land. On the south side of the Isle is a small bay, possessing a fine stretch of sand, and here, the water being wonderfully clear, is one of the prettiest and safest bathing places in South Wales. Already the sands are studded with bathing machines, and BARRY BIDS FAIR TO BE A FAVOURITE SEASIDE RESORT at no distant date. To one who is accustomed to think of Barry only in connection with coal trucks and tips, a visit to the Island will be a glad surprise. Giraldus de Barri tells a quaint story. Says he It is remarkable that in a rock near the entrance to Barry Island there is a small cavity, to which, if the ear is applied, a noise is heard like that of smiths at work-the blowing of bellows, strokes of hammers, grinding of tools, and roaring of furnaces—and it might easily have been imagined that such noises, which are con- tinued at the ebb and flow of the tides, were occa- sioned by the influx of the sea under the cavities of the rocks." Sir Richard Hoare, in his additions to Giraldus, observes as follows Towards the southern part of the Island, on a spot called Nell's Point, is a fine well (known as Virgin's Well), to which great numbers of women resort on Holy Thursday, and, having washed their eyes at the spring, each drops a pin into it. The landlord of the boarding-house told me that on clearing the well he took out a pint-full of these votive offer- ings." This interesting well is now carefully pre- served, and measures have been taken to save it from the merciless intrusions of the advancing builder. Returning to the mainland a lovely walk can be enjoyed to Cold Knap Point (can this mean Cold Nape-a neck of land running into the sea 2) From this point can be descried a vast stretch of the Somerset coast line, the Flat and Steep Holms Sully Isle, Porthkerry Bay, and a beauteous expanse of the Severn Sea, studed with silver, sails and stately merchantmen up and down the busy channel. Across a couple of meadows and THE LITTLE CHURCH OF THE PARISH is reached. It is a new building, erected on the site of an ancient and still smaller one. Though somewhat plain it is of excellent design and sub- stantially built. It consists of chancel, nave. • south porch, and bell at western end. In the churchyard is the base of the cross still sur- mounted by the greater portion of the shaft. A church school has been built in convenient proximity to the Parish Church, the memorial stones having been laid on Easter Monday, 1892, by the Bishop of the Diocese and Lady Morgan, of Cardiff. Inside the church one is struck with the fine effect of the three deeply-splayed lancets in the eastern wall. The front is a most ancient one. If not Saxon it is certainly very early Norman, and is one of the most interesting in the country. The chalice and its cover (the decent covered cup) are of silver, and bear the date 1576. The registers of this and the neighbouring parish of Porthkerry, however, only go back to the early years of this century. Leaving the churchyard by the north stile one proceeds along the road and takes the first turning to the left, and then, after passing some most pretty thatched cottages, Castle Farm is reached. Here is to be seen a fine gateway, with porticullis groove and some fragments of walls-all that remains of Barry Castle. The castle was of pointed design, and commanded a view of a fine sweep of the Channel. The views from the farm are superb. At little farther along the road, and one enters PORTHKERRY PARK. It is a lovely place, and its shady walks, finely- wooded slopes, and enchanting glades afford countless opportunities to the votaries of the brush. Now that the immediate neighbourhood is teeming with the hard-working masses it is an immense blessing to them, and it is cheerful on a fine still Sunday afternoon to see them so thoroughly appreciate the glories of the park and the goodness of its owner. At the further end of the park stands the Rectory, occupied by the genial incum- bent of the united parishes, the Rev. Canon Allen. M.A., R.D: From the Rectory a steep and narrow path leads up to the church and the tiny hamlet. The churchyard is very neat and secluded, and very bright it looks; and the roses clustering over porch and tombs, a quiet hush lingers there. As I have already stated, it seems clear that the name B^rry itself is not of Welsh origin, but was probably derived from the Norman-Freneh- either Barre, Barri, or Barry. The Castle (the existing remains of which are now a portion of Castle Farm buildings) is supposed to have been built by a Norman knight named De Barry, who was made lord of the manor not long after the Conquest. From what remains of the building, however, it seems to have been very strongly built, doubtless indicating its character at one time as a place of considerable fortified importance. Cromwell and his Ironsides are blamed for the demolition of the castle, but their task must have been a difficult one to accomplish, especially if a garrison of any size or pluck were stationed there at the time. The position it occupied was a commanding one, embracing an undisturbed view of the coast for some distance on both sides, and from it, with an ordinary piece of ordnance, the ,entrance of, veseels into the harbour' could easily be prevented. Some of the inside w&fe,- also, are still standing, and vary in thickness from 4 feet to 8 feet, according to their position. There used to be a chapel-of-ease, immediately opposite the gateway, but it has been almost wholly destroyed, for all that now marks the spot is a mound covered with trees. It stands in the middle of a field,, and is said to be a cromlech, or burial place of an old Welsh chieftain. One distinguished member of THE DE BARRY FAMILY was Giraldus Cambrensis (or De Barry, the' celebrated Welsh archdeacon and historian), who' was born about the year 1146-not at Barry, but uncjOestionably a member of the De Barry family. Probably the ancient manor attached to the castle of Bariry was of much greater extent than the s,;tnall parish of Barry proper, for the proper name ot Cadoxton is Cadoxton-juxta-Barry, and the neighbouring island is called Barry Island, although in neither instance do they constitute a portion of the present parish of Barry. It is, therefore, apparent that the oM lordship or manor of Barry was one of exceptional extent and importance-in extent because e-f the area of the adjoining country embraced therein, and in importance because of the fact that a strongly fortified castle was built to protect the same and it is a somewhat remarkable coincidence that the principal engineer of the Barry Dock and Railway (opened in the year 1889) was a gentleman named John Wolfe-Barry, so that it is quite jjossible that, this-gentleman (although living in London), when he visited Wales of late years in connection with the construction of these great works, only re- turned to the home of his forefathers, and that he too is a, descendant of the De Barry family; lift- later times the manor, or manors, of Barry, and Porthkerry became part of the large estate attached to Fonmon Castle, the united manor being purchased about the year 1817 by Sir Samuel Romilly, the great reformer of our criminal law, and grandfather of the present owners of the Romilly estate. When a peerage was conferred upon Sir John Romilly, he took as his title Lord Romilly of Barry. The Parish Church (the old struc- ture being capable of accommodating only about fifty persons) was re-built in the year 1876-a few years before the dock works were commenced-but already it is almost too small to seat the-, congre- gation of old and new inhabitants of the district worshipping thereat, and will soon probably have to be enlarged. The plans of the present church were prepared by Mr. J. Romilly Allen, a nephew of the venerable Rector, and the building is of a solid and substantial, though possibly severely plain character. The bell of the old church (cast by Evans, of Chepstow, about the year 1640), is retained in the present building, and bears the appropriate text, Feare God." In the southern wall of the aisle is a marble tablet erected to the memory of the late Francis Romilly, com- mander in the Royal Navy, and second son of Charles and Lady Georgianna Romilly, born August 4th, 1844, wounded in the action, of Majuba Hill, Transvaal, February. 27th, 1891, and died on the 2nd of March following. Barry Island, which is situated on the northern shore of the Bristol Channel, at one time belbnged to the family of Giraldus de Barry, and. it is supposed, was so-called from the Barry family, the heads of which were lords of the island. A superstition prevailed in the neigh- bourhood at one time that the ground at Barry Island was sacred. Mr. Pennant once visited the island, when he found that the boatmen who rowed the boat took off their boots as they ap- proached it. Between the villages of Barry and Cadoxton there also existed at one time extensive ruins of a castellated mansion,, but no trace what- ever of these ruins at present exist, although, according to the Historical Notes of the Welsh Counties," portions of the mansion and pigeon house stood up to comparatively recent years. This mansion was occupied by a family named Andrews, the members of which came to this country with Fitzhamon. This property was subsequently purchased by Mr. John Bland, of Sully. Some years ago Barry Island formed part of the Wenvoe Castle Estate, but it was after- wards purchased by Mr. Treharne, a chemist, of Cardiff, who built a pier on the western side of Whitmore Bay, so that sea excursionists could embark and debark in safety. The island is now, however, the property of Lord Windsor,, the chair- man of the Barry Company, and there is every probability that much of its land will soon be covered with superior building property. I may add that in 1865 a railway scheme was promoted by an independent company to run from the Great Western Railway at Peters tone to Barry, and from Barry to Sully. In the following year an Act was passed by Parliament for the formation of ship* ping places and a tidal harbour at Barry, but owing to the great commercial crisis of 1866, the promoters were unable to obtain the necessary funds, and the scheme consequently fell through. A Bill for the construction of the Barry Dock and Railways was submitted to Parliament in 1883, when it passed through the House of Commons, but it was rejected by a committee of the House of Lords.. In August, 1884, however, an Act authorising the works was passed, and the first sod of the docks and railways was cut by Lord Windsor, chairman of the Company, in November 1884, the contracts being carried out without in- teruption until the railway was opened towards the close of 1888, and the dock itself was opened, amid considerable public rejoicings on July 18th, 1889. (To be continued in oiti- next issue.) '.wwiwiwmimui, i' jm.m.ijifl'

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