The land in Barrington was originally granted by the King of England to members of the Mayflower party. Some parts of the town retain names from this land grant, including Prince’s Hill, named for Thomas Prince.
Barrington was part of Swansea, Massachusetts from its incorporation in 1667 (part of the Plymouth Colony until the merger with Massachusetts in 1691). In The Baptist residents petitioned for separation from Swansea in 1711, and Barrington was incorporated as an independent town in 1717. It was named after Barrington, Somerset, where many of the English settlers came from.
In 1747, Barrington was ceded to Rhode Island but made a part of Warren, Rhode Island. In 1770, its independence was restored by the Rhode Island legislature. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Barrington was home of the Barrington Brick Works, which made bricks that were used in construction worldwide. Many laborers from Italy lived in Barrington and worked in the brickyard. Their descendents still make up a significant portion of the town population. Since the 1980s, Barrington has attracted an increasingly affluent population, drawn from academics, professionals and executives who work in Providence.
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