Barnsley's ancient history dates back to the Iron Age settlement in Barnsley Park. In A.D. 360, upon the Roman invasion, a Roman villa was built at the settlement, but by 577, after the capture of Cirencester, a Saxon village called Bearmodeslea (Bearmod's glade) was established at the site.
The Domesday Book recorded the village's population at 24. After becoming known as Barndesley in 1197, the village became royal property under the reign of Henry VIII three hundred years later. Henry was known to let each of his wives solely enjoy the village by turns. During the time of the village's status as royal property, many of its inhabitants earned their living through agriculture and sheep, helping make the Cotswolds the centre of the wool trade.
The Bouchier family became the owners of the village in 1548 and held it for the next two hundred years. The family is responsible for building the village's lasting Barnsley House, Church Cottage and parts of the Church farm.
The village architecture was expanded during 1810-1820 when new cottages were built along the Cirencester-Bibury road. Barnsley's population peaked in 1821 at 318 and during World War I, the village had an estimated 200 inhabitants, of which six lost their lives during the war years of 1914-18.
One of the village's most famous features is Barnsley House with its attractive garden, designed by its former resident Rosemary Verey. The Barnsley House was initially built in 1667 by Brereton Bourchier. The renowned residence has since been converted into The Barnsley House Hotel with its famous gardens still a major tourist attraction. The Barnsley Village Garden Festival was inaugurated in 1998 and celebrated its 20th anniversary on 17 May 2008.
Brereton Bourchier also built the village's Church Cottage and the oldest part of what is now called the Church farm. By the 1660s, with the village's population at about 100, there was also an inn situated in the midst. The village today has its own church and pub.
- David Verey, Gloucestershire: the Cotswolds, The Buildings of England edited by Nikolaus Pevsner, 2nd ed. (1979) ISBN 0-14-071040-X, pp.96-100
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barnsley, Gloucestershire.|
- Barnsley Village, residents' site
- Barnsley House Garden
- Barnsley House
- Barnsley and the Ernest Cook Trust
- Barnsley in the Domesday Book