town (township), Bristol county, eastern Rhode Island, U.S. The town lies on the eastern shore of Narragansett Bay just southeast of East Providence and occupies two peninsulas separated by the Barrington River. As early as 1632, Plymouth settlers had established a trading post in the area on Sowams, then the fishing and hunting grounds of Wampanoag Indians. The first European settlement was made by John Myles, a Baptist clergyman, and his followers. In 1667 Myles's settlement, including Sowams, was incorporated as Swansea. The area became caught up in the Indian uprising called King Philip's War (1675-76). Swansea was incorporated in 1717 as the town of Barrington (named for John Shute, 1st Viscount Barrington, an English lawyer who advocated religious freedom) by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay colony. In 1746-47 Barrington was transferred to the colony of Rhode Island, forming a part of the town of Warren. In 1770 the western part of Warren was separated and incorporated as Barrington. Barrington (including the village of West Barrington) is mainly residential. Area 8 square miles (22 square km). Pop. (1990) 15,849; (2000) 15,819.
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