Sir Robert Barrie 

The City of Barrie is proud to be named after Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Barrie KCB, KCH. The Twinning between the City of Barrie and the Borough of Harrogate formally acknowledges the heritage that our two communities have in common. In 2021, the City of Barrie declared June 7th as “Sir Robert Barrie Day” annually in his honour.


Sir Robert Barrie Statue

Sir Robert Barrie was born on the 5th of May 1774 in St. Augustine, Florida.  His father, Dr. Robert Barrie of Sanquhar, Scotland was a surgeon’s mate with the British Army.  His father died in 1775 and the family returned to England.  In 1788, Robert Barrie joined the Royal Navy (RN).  He was made a midshipman aboard HMS Discovery with Captain George Vancouver.  Barrie’s service in the RN saw him rise to the rank of Captain in command of HMS Calypso in 1802. In October 1810, Barrie, aboard the frigate HMS Pomone, captured Lucien Bonaparte during an attempt to reach America from Italy.

Barrie, noted for his stellar service during the War of 1812 was given command of HMS Dragon which played a major role in the blockade of American forces in Chesapeake Bay.  During his command in charge of the British Squadron some 85 vessels were taken.

Following the conclusion of hostilities, Barrie married Julia Wharton Ingilby of Ripley Castle in Ripley, Yorkshire which is now part of the Borough of Harrogate. 

They went to live in France.  In January 1819 he took up the post of commissioner of the Naval Dockyard in Kingston, Upper Canada.  As such he was the senior Naval Officer in the Canadian Colony. He was instrumental in developing the facilities at Kingston as well as the building of the Rideau and Welland canals.

In June 1834 Barrie returned to England and King William IV made him a Knight Commander of the Royal Guelphic Order (KCH).  He was promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1837 and created Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) in 1840.  

Rear Admiral Sir Robert Barrie lived in retirement at his seat in Swarthdale, Lancashire, and died on the 7th of June 1841.  His final resting place is in All Saints Church in the shadow of Ripley Castle, which has been occupied by the Ingilby’s since the 14th century.

Post-Captain (RN) Robert Barrie & HMS DRAGON off Tangier Island | Oil on Canvas painting by Peter Rindlisbacher on display at Barrie City Hall, 70 Collier Street