De Barry family

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Arms of de Barry: Argent, three bars gemelles gules
Arms of de Barry: Argent, three bars gemelles gules; crest: Out of a castle argent a wolf's head sable

The de Barry family is a noble family of Cambro-Norman origins which held extensive land holdings in Wales and Ireland. The founder of the family was a Norman Knight, Odo, who assisted in the Norman Conquest of England during the 11th century. As reward for his military services, Odo was granted estates in Pembrokeshire and around Barry, Wales, including Barry Island just off the coast and named after the 6th century Saint Baruc.

Odo’s grandson, Gerald of Wales, a 12th-century scholar, gives the origin of his family's name, de Barry, in his Itinerarium Cambriae (1191): "Not far from Caerdyf is a small island situated near the shore of the Severn, called Barri, from St. Baroc … . From hence a noble family, of the maritime parts of South Wales, who owned this island and the adjoining estates, received the name of de Barri."

Many family members later assisted in the Norman invasion of Ireland. For the family's services, King John of England awarded Philip's son, William de Barry, extensive baronies in the Kingdom of South Munster, specifically the defunct Uí Liatháin kingdom (O'Lethan and Imokilly) with its late seat at Castlelyons.

Ancestry[edit]

Odo de Barry was the grantee of the immense manor of Manorbier in Pembrokeshire, which included the manors of Jameston and Manorbier Newton, as well as the manors of Begelly and Penally. He built the first motte-and-bailey at Manorbier. His son, William FitzOdo de Barry, is the common ancestor of the Barry family in Ireland. He rebuilt Manorbier Castle in stone and the family retained the lordship of Manorbier until the 15th century.


Issue of William FitzOdo de Barry[edit]

He had sons: Robert, Philip, Walter and Gerald (better known as Giraldus Cambrensis) by Angharad (also known as Hangharad) daughter of Gerald de Windsor (died 1135) and Nest ferch Rhys (died after 1136). After Gerald's death, Nest's sons married her to Stephen, her husband's constable of Cardigan Castle, by whom she had another two sons; the eldest was Robert Fitz-Stephen.

  • Robert de Barry accompanied his half-uncle Robert Fitz-Stephen in the Norman invasion of Ireland. He took part in the Siege of Wexford and was killed at the battle of Lismore in 1185.
  • Philip de Barry came to Ireland in 1185 to assist his half-uncle Robert Fitz-Stephen, and his first cousin Raymond FitzGerald (also known as Raymond Le Gros), in their efforts to recover lands in the modern county Cork - the cantreds of Killede, Olethan and Muscarydonegan.

The latter cantred, variously called Muscry-donnegan or "O'Donegan's country" or "Múscraighe Tri Maighe", was a rural deanery in the Diocese of Cloyne.[1] It is now identified as the barony of Orrery and Kilmore.[2] The name "Olethan" (or "Oliehan") is an anglicisation of the Gaelic Uí Liatháin which refers to the early medieval kingdom of the Uí Liatháin. This petty kingdom encompassed most of the present Barony of Barrymore and the neighbouring barony of Kinnatalloon. The name Killyde survives in "Killeady Hills", the name of the hill country south of the city of Cork.[3][4]

These cantreds or baronies had been expropriated by another (half) first cousin, Ralph Fitz-Stephen (died 1182), the grandson of Nesta by Stephen, Constable of Cardigan. Robert Fitz-Stephen eventually ceded these territories to Philip de Barry, his half-nephew. In 1181, King Henry II of England ennobled Robert de Barry as Baron Barry of Olethan and Ibawne.[5] On 24 February 1206, King John I of England confirmed William de Barry, Philip's son, in the possession of these territories and, by letters patent, conferred on him the Lordships of Castlelyons, Buttevant and Barry's Court in East Cork [1]. In 1267, King Henry II of England appointed Lord David de Barry as Chief Justice of Ireland.[6] In 1385, King Richard II of England raised John Barry to the viscountcy as Viscount Buttevant.[7] In 1627, King Charles I of England elevated David Barry as Earl of Barrymore.[8]

Family seat[edit]

St Mary's Church, Buttevant 1832-1836

Barryscourt Castle near Carrigtwohill was the seat of the Barry family from the 12th century until 1617 when they removed to Barrymore Castle in Castlelyons. In 1771, the 7th Earl saw Barrymore Castle burn to the ground.[9] The family fortunes were subsequently dissipatated by his issue, the 7th and 8th Earls.

The name of the town of Buttevant is believed to derive from the family's battle cry - Boutez-en-Avant, roughly translating as "Kick your way through".

The British Military Establishment, Buttevant 1815-1922
Barryscourt Castle
Carrigtwohil, Co. Cork.
Buttevant Castle c. 1880

Irish descendants[edit]

The most prominent Gaelic neighbours of the de Barrys were the MacCarthy Reagh dynasty, rulers of the principality or petty kingdom of Carbery. For the most part, with not a great many exceptions, the two families kept on good terms, and also regularly intermarried. The de Barrys are descended from several of the MacCarthy Reagh princes through their daughters.[10] Likewise the Barrys intermarried with the also powerful MacCarthys of Muskerry.[11]

Some Barrys eventually became so Gaelicized that a paternal Gaelic lineage was found for them. They were made to descend from Fothach Canann,[12] 5th son of the famous Lugaid Mac Con of the Dáirine or Corcu Loígde.

Uí Liatháin[edit]

The Uí Liatháin or "Sons of Liathán", whose long decayed and essentially defunct kingdom the de Barrys by total coincidence came to occupy, are famous for having raided Britain in ancient times from their fortresses in Wales and Cornwall. Notable is the fact that the de Barry family descend maternally, through Angharad and Nesta, from the ancient Welsh Prince Cunedda, whose sons were the very Britons who ended the Uí Liatháin's dominance in Wales.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ O'Hanlon John, Canon O'Hanlon, The Lives of the Irish Saints, cited in "Under the Oak ". "In the ancient taxation of the diocese of Cloyne, there is a rural deanery, called Muscry-donnegan. It contains the parishes now comprehended in the baronies of Orrery and Kilmore, with small adjacent portions of Duhallow and Fermoy. Among the Churches in this deanery, Orwerg, (i.e. Orbraidhe or Orrery) and Fersketh, (i.e. Feart Skeithe,) called Ardskagh are two. This latter is now known as Ardskeagh. Thus, the identity of Muscraighe-tri-maighe and the barony of Orrery is proved to a demonstration.
  2. ^ MacLysaght (More Irish Families) notes that O'Donegan's country was the alias for Múscraige Tri Maighe and that the territory passed into the possession of the de Barry family in the 13th century.
  3. ^ Smith, "History of Cork", Book 1, chapter i.
  4. ^ Egerton MS., 75 B. M., as quoted in W. A. Copinger's "Historical Notes to Smith's History of Cork," book ii., chapter 2.
  5. ^ Robert Beatson, "A Political Index to the Histories of Great Britain & Ireland", Third edition, London 1806, Volume III, pg 138.
  6. ^ Robert Beatson, "A Political Index to the Histories of Great Britain & Ireland", Third edition, London 1806, Volume III, pg 289.
  7. ^ Robert Beatson, "A Political Index to the Histories of Great Britain & Ireland", Third edition, London 1806, Volume III, pg 141.
  8. ^ Robert Beatson, "A Political Index to the Histories of Great Britain & Ireland", Third edition, London 1806, Volume III, pg 149.
  9. ^ Castlelyons Parish History - Barrymore Castle.
  10. ^ Famille MacCarthy Reagh
  11. ^ Irish Pedigrees: MacCarthy, Lord of Muscry
  12. ^ Irish Pedigrees: Barry