Since 1889, Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery has served as a final resting place for the residents of Barry. Following a number of extensions over the years the cemetery now stands at just over 55 acres in size. It also provides a valuable green sanctuary in the heart of the town and is open to visitors 365 days a year.
Opened in 1889 by the then Barry & Urban District Council, Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery was created to address a severe shortage of burial space in the rapidly expanding town. Following the building of the docks in 1884 the population of Barry and Cadoxton District burgeoned by over 3000% from a few small villages to the beginnings of the town we know today.
The first burial came on the 24th October 1889 when William Marra, an 18 year old sailor was laid to rest. He had arrived aboard the S.S Doris, berthed at Barry Dock. Many people thought it unlucky to be buried in a new cemetery so it may have been a conscious decision or just timing that resulted in the first burial being a sailor from a visiting ship.
Originally constructed in the 1890s, the cemetery chapel and the drinking fountain which stands in front of it are listed as Vale of Glamorgan County Treasures. The cemetery chapel underwent extensive renovation and repair to return it to it’s former glory in 2005/06. The chapel is available for hire for funeral services and other events, please contact us if you are interested in using the space.
The older sections of the cemetery contain many ornate memorials from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. These memorials, whilst beautiful in their own right, may also tell you a story about the life, age, beliefs and occupation of the person buried there. During this time people were well versed in symbolism and used plants, flowers and other motifs as a form of coded communication.
There are a number of Commonwealth War Graves at Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery to commemorate those who fought in the First and Second World Wars. More recently we have installed a number of boards around the cemetery to give visitors more information about some of the notable people buried there. This project is ongoing and we welcome suggestions from the public for future boards.
As part of our commitment to providing excellent service to meet the needs of the bereaved, Barry Town Council has adopted the Institute of Cemetery and Crematoria Management’s Charter for the Bereaved. The Charter seeks to set standards related to funerals and burial and also contains objectives and targets that help authorities to set priorities for future development and improvement.
One of Barry Town Council’s Well-Being Goals is for a More Resilient Barry. This is all about enhancing the local environment, supporting nature and helping people be able to access the outdoors. We are proud to have held the Keep Wales Tidy Green Flag Award – which sets the benchmark for parks and green spaces – since 2016.
We are working to increase the biodiversity of the cemetery and have put in place a number of measures to achieve this. These include deliberately mowing some of the older sections less frequently, the creation of log and leaf piles, the installation of the wildlife pond, planting native trees and the creation of a pollinator garden. All these actions help to create essential habitats for a range of species.
Since that first burial back in 1889, there have now been over 42,000 interments at Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery. As well as it’s historical significance and value as a habitat it continues to function today as a working cemetery and will continue to do so for many years to come. We invite you to visit the cemetery as a place of contemplation and remembrance, to learn more about the town and the people that shaped it or to simply enjoy the sounds and signs of the wildlife that lives here.
- Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery is open 365 days a year.
- During the Summer months (April – September) times are 8am – 7pm
- During the Winter months (October – March) times are 8.30am – 4.15pm
- Weekends & Bank Holidays – 8.30am – 5.00pm – No admittance after 4.30pm to cars and pedestrians. All visitors must exit by 5.00pm.
- Due to unforeseen weather conditions the Cemetery may close without prior notice for health and safety reasons.
- Notices will be displayed on the Barry Town Council website and the Merthyr Dyfan Cemetery Facebook and Twitter pages