Sully Smugglers




Barry Island has a benign appearance today, but this hides a chilling history. It was once a true island, and the private domain of smuggler Thomas Knight. He put fortifications around the shoreline, and ran a fleet of heavily-armed smuggling ships from there, importing spirits and tobacco from the Channel Islands, and soap from Ireland. Knight probably arrived in Barry in 1783, in a 24 gun Brig called the John O'Combe. Opposition from the customs authorities was at first nominal, and with support from local people, Knight quickly made the island his stronghold. The customs men may well have exaggerated the problem, but Knight was reputed to have a force of 60-70 men defending he island from uninvited interest.

Knight's influence grew rapidly, and within a year or so, the customs authorities had difficulty recruiting members, since the local population had more respect for Barry's smuggling king than for the legitimate crown.

Knight's reign was brief, and in 1785 a concerted effort by the authorities dislodged him — he retreated to Lundy.

Sully Smugglers

The Sully Smugglers are a group of experienced presenters of living history who depict smuggling in the Bristol Channel in the 18th century. They provide a fascinating insight into maritime history which links well with key stage 3 for school groups, but their presentation and antics make the experience a fun day for all the family.

Get dad to walk the plank, learn hands on how to load and fire canon and flintlocks. Experience and learn about knots, ships surgery, weapons, ships, period cooking, costume and so much more.

Drink and dance with the crew in the Pot Inn.

And if you dare sign your articles and join the crew, and sail off to exotic lands in search of treasure.

Fight reenactments

Sword fights

Cannon and flintlocks displays

Sign your articles and join the crew

Watch the ships surgeon at work

Authentic camp cooking

Games and grog at the Pot Inn

Treasure hunts

floggings with the dreaded cat o nine tails

Childrens battles

Pictures with the Captain and Crew

Shanties and songs

Dress as a Pirate

Walk the plank

Tattoo's and face painting

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