Sabine Baring-Gould (1834 - 1924)

Sabine Baring-Gould's life is a story in itself, with his unconventional childhood, his marriage to a mill-girl half his age and his dedication to antiquarian pursuits alongside his life as squire and parson of a small Devonshire village. He was regarded as one of the top ten novelists of his time, but wrote prolifically on his travels, religious matters, historical figures and on many other topics. Over 1200 publications are listed in his bibliography.

He was an early archaeologist, respected for his work on Dartmoor, in Cornwall, in Wales and in France. He was also a folklorist, but he regarded his greatest achievement to be his collection of songs, most of them heard from singers in Devon and Cornwall. Beside his writing he re-created the twin hearts of his beloved parish of Lew Trenchard - his home, Lew House and the beautiful little church of St Peter, Lewtrenchard. For these he was his own architect.

At his death in 1924 he largely dropped out of the public's memory and if he was remembered it would have been for his best known hymns such as 'Onward, Christian soldiers' and 'Now the day is over'. In recent years members of the Sabine Baring-Gould Appreciation Society, with the help of the descendants of his 15 children, have searched out forgotten manuscripts and letters which help to give a better picture of the life of this remarkable man.

You can download a copy of the SBGAS Leaflet here, which you can read and print - but please note that the subscription rates have now changed. For details see the Membership page.

The website has been thoroughly overhauled (July 2015) and I have caught up with a number of changes that I should have made a long time ago - see below. Like the Forth Bridge, this is a task that should be ongoing, but real life  (I must get one!) makes it difficult to achieve this state of perfection. If you find errors or other shortcomings, please do let me know.



News Box- news items in brief

  • The 2016 SBGAS Annual meeting will be held in North Cornwall on the weekend 8/9 October 2016. On the Saturday we will be based at the Brendon Arms, Bude, EX23 8SD, then on Sunday we move to the Bush Inn, Morwenstow. There will be a particular focus on two of Baring-Gould's books set in the county, In the Roar of the Sea (1892) and The Vicar of Morwenstow (1876). The programme for the meeting is as follows:

    Friday, 7 October

    5.00pm       Committee meeting. The Olive Tree, Lower Wharf, Bude, EX23 8LG

    7.00pm for 7.30 - Meal together at The Olive Tree


    Saturday, 8 October

    Meet at The Brendon Arms, Falcon Terrace, Bude. EX23 8SD

    9.30am       Welcome

    9.45am       Bill Oke: A Unique Character on a Unique Coast

    10.05am     Jill Welby: R.S.Hawker.

    10.30am     Coffee

    10.50am     Nick Fridd: Comparison between the various biographies of Hawker

    11.30am     Norman Wallwork: Hawker's poetry

    12.00pm     Pat Tansell: How I found Evelyn Healey (and others)

    12:30 pm    Lunch at the Brendon Arms

    2.00pm       Tour of Hawker's house in Morwenstow (Drive, approx. 30 mins each way)

    4.00pm       Annual General Meeting at the Brendon Arms

    4.45 (or earlier if meeting shorter) Martin and Shan Graebe will sing of smugglers

    7.30pm       Dinner at the Brendon Arms


    Sunday, 9 October

    Meet at 9.30am at The Bush Inn, Crosstown, Morwenstow. EX23 9SR

    9.45am       Helen English: 'In the Roar of the Sea'

    10.30am     Trip to Hawker's Hut, led by Bill Oke.

    11.30am.    Church service led by Nick Fridd at Hawker's church

    12.45pm     Lunch at the Bush Inn

    After lunch, book sales and then departure

    For more information and bookings contact Helen English

  • The SBGAS Transactions Volume for 2016 is a special issue reflecting on Baring-Gould's visit to Iceland in 1862. It includes articles by Becky Smith on his book Iceland, It's Scenes and Sagas, an appreciation of Baring-Gould's geological knowledge of Iceland by Roger Bristow, and a transcription of the letters that Baring-Gould wrote about the journey compiled by Martin Graebe.

  • SBGAS subscriptions remain unchanged for 2016 (£15 individual, £20 couple, £25 overseas) if you have not done so, you should pay the Treasurer (Bill Oke) as soon as possible



About this site and the current update:

This is the third version of the SBGAS website. There are still things that I would like to do better, but space and time necessitate some compromises.

The most recent full update was in July 2015 when the following work was carried out:

·      Updated and improved the 'Photo Gallery'

·      Consolidated a lot of information on the 'Links' page.

·      I have updated the meetings page

·      I have updated the Index to the SBGAS Transactions

·      I have put the AGM minutes online, as I should have done earlier


Martin Graebe

[Updated 22 Jan 2016]