Khandel Light
Town House
Historic Barley

Welcome to the Barley Village Web Site

This site has information about various aspects of Barley life ranging from a brief history of the village, to a list of the Parish Councillors and information about the local Post Office and shop. 

Barley Parish Plan

Barley village Parish Plan has now been published, to download a copy go to Barley Parish Plan

View the "Town House" page to arrange your party, wedding reception or marriage at our licensed venue. 

"Services" has most (if not all) the clubs and societies in the village, plus information about local services.

Barley High Street

A Brief History of Barley

There have been settlements in the parish of Barley for, perhaps 3000 years, from the Bronze Age dwellers who built a hill fort on the chalk hills near Royston, through to Iron Age farmers on the north edge of the village around 100 BC. The Romans left evidence of occupation and burials to the west,but it was in Saxon times that the village acquired its name, not from the crop widely grown in the area but corrupted over the years from Beora's Ley,describing a Saxon Lord's clearing in woodland. In the DomesdayBook it is recorded as Berlei.

War Memorial & Lock-up

Some of the older houses can be identified on a map of the village compiled in 1593; The Priors (at Richmonds Garage) and Horseshoe Farm are mentioned by name. The Cross Hill is a focus of Barley history, with the Fox and Hounds pub and its sign spanning the road, moved from the High Street when the original pub of that name burned down in 1950. The War Memorial was built in 1919 and next to it is the Cageor Lock-up, built in the 17th century to deter local criminals. At the Old Forge the King family used to shoe horses and make fine wrought iron work and now it is used for repairing veteran cars.   Along the London Road is a milestone set in the hedge, one of 16 put up in 1730 to record distances to London and Cambridge.

Plaistow Play Area

However, Barley is far more than a collection of historic buildings.  It is a thriving community blessed with a fine First School, the services of a shop, two pubs and two garages. Farms and small businesses provide employment for some, whilst the good communications attract commuters. The community spirit is reflected in a variety of clubs and organisations, and the ability of the village to raise funds for maintaining the old buildings, such as the Town House, supporting the school and embarking on new schemes to benefit the inhabitants, such as the provision of a children's area and sports facilities in the Plaistow, two acres of land given to the people of the village by King Edgar in the 10th century.

Village people have provided some footnotes in history, notably two Archbishops of Canterbury and the first English mayor of New York. Pioneering scientists, including a recent Nobel Prize winner, have valued the atmosphere of the village and it's surrounding countryside. It has inspired artists, writers and musicians but whatever your role in life it is the perfect place to live!

Author: Geoffrey Wilkerson