The Early History of the Barry Family
The Norman family of de Barri took part in the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and as a result were granted territories in South Wales (from here they take their name). Their family seat was Manorbier Castle near Tenby. William de Barri was born here in 1110. He married Anagreth who was granddaughter of Rese Gruffydth, Prince of South Wales. Anagreth’s grandmother was Nest, who was mistress of King Henry I of England. Nest’s children founded the Fitzstephen, Fitzgerald and Fitzhenry families.
William and Anagreth had four sons: Philip, Edmund, Robert and Gerald. Gerald later wrote very fondly of his birthplace, Manorbier Castle, which he called ‘the pleasantest spot in Wales’ …
[the castle has] “excellently well defended turrets and bulwarks, and is situated on the summit of a hill extending on the western side towards the seaport, having on the northern and southern sides a fine fish-pond under its walls, as conspicuous for its grand appearance, as for the depth of its waters, and a beautiful orchard on the same side, enclosed on one part by a vineyard, and on the other by a wood, remarkable for the projection of its rocks, and the height of its hazel trees. On the right hand of the promontory, between the castle and the church, near the site of a very large lake and mill, a rivulet of never-failing water flows through a valley, rendered sandy by the violence of the winds. Towards the west, the Severn sea, bending its course to Ireland, enters a hollow bay at some distance from the castle; and the southern rocks, extended a little further north, would render it a most excellent harbour for shipping… This country is well supplied with corn, sea-fish, and imported wines; and what is preferable to every other advantage, from its vicinity to Ireland, it is tempered by a salubrious air…”