Barry England was raised in a Roman Catholic household and studied at Downside School. He joined the British Army and served in the Far Eastern theatre, where he did his share of arduous marches "over two or three mountains in a day". His stint in the army would serve England well later in his literary career. He studied at the RADA as a playwright, and around this time began writing pieces for magazines. The first of England's plays to be produced was End of Conflict, which was staged at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry in November 1961. The young Ian McKellen played one of the principal roles in this story of British soldiers serving in the Far East. The success of End of Conflict led to the Arts Council awarding a playwriting bursary to England. In 1963, the Belgrade staged England's next play The Big Contract, a story of industrial dispute in a large firm. England also wrote plays for television throughout the 1960s, like The Move After Checkmate, a crime thriller that was broadcast in 1966 as part of Anglia Television's "Play of the Week" series. Figures in a Landscape was England's first novel; published by Jonathan Cape in the summer of 1968, it was hailed by critics as an exemplary addition to the literature of escape. The novel was made into a film by famed director Joseph Losey in 1970, and featured Robert Shaw and Malcolm McDowell in the two main roles. According to the Times, England had been working on a second novel provisionally entitled The Other Woman, but it is unclear whether this book ever saw the light of day.
England's other significant work was the play Conduct Unbecoming, which was first staged in May 1969 at the Theatre Royal in Bristol. This play too was translated into a movie, with Stacy Keach, Richard Attenborough and Trevor Howard in starring roles. His second novel, No Man's Land, was published by Jonathan Cape in 1997.