Barry Castle was a fortified manor house built on the site of an earlier Norman structure. It was raised by the powerful de Barry family, who played an important role in both the conquest of South Wales and Ireland. The structure was ruinous by the sixteenth century.
Barry Castle was originally raised as an earthwork fortification, most probably a ringwork, built by the de Barry family. They were descendants of Odo, half-brother of William I, and had participated in the Norman expansion into South Wales in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries. The family took their name from their new castle but their focus continued to move west. They soon established a new family seat at Manorbier Castle in Pembrokeshire and subsequently went on to participate in the invasion of Ireland which resulted in them acquiring significant lands around South Munster. Barry Castle was reduced to a minor residence for this important family but was nevertheless significantly rebuilt in the late thirteenth century when the original fortification was replaced with a two-storey fortified manor house. This stone structure was most probably raised by Lucas de Barry.
The earliest components of the manor house were east and west ranges which were connected by a quadrangular courtyard and enclosed by a curtain wall. This structure was attacked and badly damaged in 1316 during a revolt led by Llywelyn Bren. The castle was repaired by John de Barry and, perhaps as part of this rebuilding, an additional south range (a large hall) and a substantial gatehouse were added. The latter included a chamber above used for manorial courts whilst access was controlled by a drawbridge indicating the site may have been surrounded by a ditch or moat perhaps re-using the earlier Norman earthworks.
The castle was ruinous by the sixteenth century although the gatehouse continued to be used for Manorial Courts until 1720. Thereafter the site fell into ruin and today only part of the gatehouse and the south range survive.
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Barry Castle has been much reduced from its heyday and the only remains now visible are of the Gatehouse plus a portion of the South Range.