The Churches of Saint Baruc, Barry Island
St Baruc is an important Celtic saint of Wales. He was a student of the famous St Cadoc and there has been a place of worship dedicated to Baruc since his burial there around the year 700 AD. The name Barry is believed to be a corruption of Baruc and during the middle ages a pilgrimage to Baruc’s burial place was considered to be very important. In fact 4 visits to Baruc were equal to 1 visit to Rome on the pilgrimage “league tables”. Thus, Barry Island became a very sacred Christian site.
The ruins of the ancient chapel and priest’s house are still used for a Celtic service on the feast of St Baruc on 27 September each year. The ruins are at coordinates 51.39221998766984, -3.267177158084634 (Google Maps code: 9PRM+W4 Barry ; what3words: ///codes.began.loud)
Anglicans first returned to the Island in 1881, when a mission church of St Baruc was opened at the corner of Phyllis Street and Archer Road. (At the time, the Island was in Sully parish.) The congregation outgrew the tiny red brick church and moved to a tin chapel of St Baruc in Plymouth Road (on the corner of Archer Street) until the 1960s. At that point, the congregation returned to the red brick Church of St John with St Baruc, Phyllis Street, which was originally built in 1880 as Bethany English Baptist Church. It closed for worship after a final service on the Feast of the Epiphany, 2019.
The Parish Church of Saint Nicholas, Barry
There was a church of St Nicholas in Barry from as early as the 13th century. In a state of disrepair by the Victorian era, it was rebuilt and enlarged. The new building was consecrated 1876 and was the parish church until the early 20th century, when the even larger church of All Saints was completed. The Victorian building is now used by Sea Scouts, on the corner of Romilly Park Road and St Nicholas’ Road.
The Church of Saint Paul the Apostle
A daughter church of Merthyr Dyfan, St Paul’s (St Paul’s Avenue) was built in 1892 and closed in 2016. For a time, worship carried on in the church hall until 31 December 2017, when the last service was held.
St John’s Welsh Church
By 1889, Welsh language services were held in the Mission Room on Iddlesleigh Street. The congregation later used the Royal Hotel Cadoxton and the Memorial Hospital, Holton Road. A Tabernacle chapel from Penarth was relocated for Welsh-speakers in Cadoxton parish and consecrated on 13 February 1896. It was an iron building on the corner of Court Road and Wyndham Street (opposite St Helen’s Roman Catholic church). When St John’s closed in 1951, its altar and reredos were moved to St Cadoc’s.
The Church of Saint Aidan, Cadoxton-juxta-Barry
Barry library holds a photograph of St Aidan’s, Main Street, circa 1910. Converted from the town’s first permanent theatre (the Theatre Royal and Palace of Varieties, Iddlesleigh Street), the first recorded service was held on Holy Monday 5 April 1909 and the church-hall was ceremonially opened on the Feast of the Purification (Candlemas) 1910. It was closed in 1964 and sold a few years later. The building having been demolished, she is remembered in the name of nearby St Aidan’s Rise.
The first temporary church for the east side of Cadoxton was on Iddesleigh Street (now the part of Main Street between Quarella Street and Vere Street); it was licensed by the bishop for worship on 26 August 1887 and replaced by St Aidan’s.
The first in the west end of Cadoxton (Barry Dock), on Thompson Street, opened in November 1891; it was replaced by St Mary’s Hall, which was licensed on 28 July 1892 and used until St Mary’s Church opened in 1905.