Barry, John de (c.1265–1330), son of David de Barry III and his wife Joan, was head of one of the foremost magnate families in the lordship of Ireland in the early fourteenth century. His family had held three cantreds in eastern Co. Cork from the early thirteenth century and had made the cantred of Othelan, in north central Co. Cork, the centre of their lordship. His grandfather David de Barry II had served as justiciar (1266–8), and John himself was regularly summoned for service in the wars of the kings of England in Scotland and France. John de Barry first emerges in the documentation of the period in June 1283, when he was distrained to become a knight. He spent several years in Wales in the 1280s with his wife Beatrice, as the Barrys were one of the magnate families that retained lands on both sides of the Irish sea. He emerged as the head of his family after his father's death (1290), but continued to serve the king in England, Scotland, and France. Barry's activities in Ireland are unclear but he appears on several occasions in cases involving disputes with neighbouring magnates, especially as part of a long-term feud with the de Cogans. He appeared as one of the jurors for the inquisition post mortem after the death of Thomas fitz Maurice FitzGerald (qv) of Desmond. In 1301 he defended his family's tenure of their lands in quo warranto hearings, and in the same year was given leave to alienate twenty librates of land for the foundation of a religious house. His status in the lordship is underlined by the fact that he received personal summonses to parliament and appears as a member of the Irish council in 1310. He remained loyal to the king during the Bruce invasion and was in the army summoned by the justiciar, Edmund Butler (qv), to face Edward Bruce (qv) in 1315 before the army was disbanded. He appears to have supported Roger Mortimer (qv), earl of March, and may have communicated with him after his escape from the Tower. He was also implicated in the disturbances in Munster in the late 1320s as an ally of Maurice fitz Thomas FitzGerald (qv), 1st earl of Desmond. His lifetime marks the high point of the involvement of the Barry family in the affairs of the Anglo-Irish lordship. After his death in 1330, the leadership of his family passed to his nephew, David de Barry IV. The Barry lordship became more closely focused on the cantred of Othelan with another important centre around the manor of Buttevant, from which the Barrys later claimed an invented title. As the heads of the family concentrated their interests on the lands which they held in chief of the crown, they divested themselves of their ancestral lands in Wales, and the lands in west Cork were separated from the patrimony to become a lordship for the family of William Maol Barry (qv) (younger brother of John), known as the Barry Ruadh to distinguish it from the lordship of the Barry Mór.
CDI; CPR; Stat. Ire. John–Hen. V; P. O'Flanagan and C. Buttimer, Cork, history and society (1993), P. McCotter, ‘The subinfeudation and descent of the FitzStephen/Carew moiety of Desmond’, Cork Hist. Soc. Jn., ci (1996), 64–80; cii (1997), 89–108