Our History



IN the autumn of 1887, Barry, with the adjacent parishes of Cadoxton and Merthyr Dyfan, was in the middle of its transformation from a sleepy, tenant-farming community of just over 500 people into a vigorous and thriving town of the industrial revolution.  Work began on the construction of the docks in November 1884, and by the time the first ships entered in July 1889, the population of the town had mushroomed, bringing with it a whole new range of social and leisure activities that grew hand in hand with the commercial development.

Rugby Football was a rapidly growing sport in many communities across South Wales, and it was probably played 'informally' in Barry soon after work on the docks began.  However, the first written record that has come to light is from October 1887, when 'Cadoxton Football Club' played in the Cardiff league under the captaincy of Mr. T. Howard Morgan, who lived on Vere Street: the club colours were navy blue and white.  Within a few years the club became known as the Cadoxton and Barry Football Club, and in September 1889 a second club was formed in the west end of the town, known as Barry Harlequins.

For the next 30 years or so the fortunes of the game waxed and waned as a number of clubs were formed, variously disbanded, and re-formed under different names - Barry, Barry Rovers, Barry Stars, Cadoxton United, Barry Barbarians, Barry Bachelors, and even Barry RFC were just some of the titles.  Together they began a lineage that was to lead eventually to the stability of a single premier club in the town, the present Barry RFC.

This early chequered history was matched by an equally varied list of club houses and playing fields, ranging from the Wenvoe Hotel (Vere Street) and Witchell Hotel to the Barry Hotel and Victoria Hotel (Holton Road), and from pitches behind the Witchell, on Holton Fields, the Buttrills, and Alexandra Gardens. 

A leading light in the running of the game in Barry during this period was W.M. (Billy) Douglas who had won Welsh Caps in 1886-87 while playing for Cardiff, and who had served on the Cardiff Committee for many years.  The Barry club was admitted to the Welsh Football Union as early as September 1895.