SBGAS Annual Gathering, Tavistock, 5 – 7 October 2018


The Programme for the Tavistock Gathering (5 – 7 October) is now complete – see below. There will be the usual talks, an outing and frequent meals – all great opportunities for socialising, learning more about Sabine Baring-Gould, and exploring. The book under examination is the highly entertaining Mrs Curgenven of Curgenven. There are print-on-demand copies easily available (try as well as e-book versions, and a few original Methuen hardbacks to be found.

To date we have over twenty members attending, with ample space for more. Accommodation can be found at local B&Bs, as the Bedford Hotel (where we are having the talks) is fully booked for the 5th October – though there are still some rooms available for the 6th.

Please register your attendance with Helen English using this form.


Draft Programme (Subject to change)

Friday Oct. 5th

7.30pm                 Meet at The Cornish Arms for a meal

Saturday Oct 6th   

9.30 am          Welcome by the Chairman

9.45 am          Locating Curgenven – Roger Bristow

10.00 am        Mrs Curgenven of Curgenven – Becky Smith and Pat Tansell

11.00 am        Coffee

11.30 am         The Folklore of Bodmin – Katherine Stansfield

12.30 pm        Lunch

2.00 pm         Outing to Liskeard

7.30 pm         Dinner at the Cornish Arms

Sunday Oct. 7th   

10.00 am       Priests and Parsons in the Novels of Baring-GouldNorman Wallwork

11.00 am        Coffee

11.30 am        AGM

1.00 pm         Lunch.

2.00 pm        Book sales. Departure.

Data Protection and SBGAS – Important


New regulations coming into force in May 2018 place extra demands on organisations of all sizes that hold and use members’ personal data, such as addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mails. We have devised a new Privacy Statement and  a Data Protection Policy that, we believe, meets the requirements of the regulations. A form has been sent to all SBGAS members with the February Newsletter and we would appreciate it if you could complete this and return it to the Secretary. We would likewise be grateful if you could let us know if you decide that you don’t want your data to be kept and used in the way described. After May 2018 we will not be able to send information to members who have not completed the form giving us permission to do so.

The form can also be found in this document – Data protection and SBGAS.

Onward, Christian Soldiers – at a price


The London bookseller, Jarndyce Books, were recently selling at the 51st California Antiquarian Book Fair in Pasadena, 9 – 11 February. One of the items listed was a manuscript copy of ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers’, perhaps one of those SB-G dashed off before breakfast for his American dealer? Jarndyce’s description is as follows:

BARING-GOULD, Sabine. Signed Manuscript of Onward Christian Soldiers. 42 lines ms. in brown ink with pencil guide lines, signed by Baring-Gould at the end of ve eight-line stanzas. Mounted, framed & glazed. 20thC auction description laid down at lower margin. 29 x 17cm. [79192].

Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924, was an Anglican priest, scholar and novelist. He had particular interest in writing and collecting folk songs and hymns and
he is perhaps best known for writing the lyrics to Onward Christian Soldiers. Baring-Gould intended the lyrics to be a processional hymn for children walking from Horbury Bridge, where he was curate, to Horbury St Peter’s Church near Wakefield, Yorkshire, at Whitsuntide in 1865. It was originally entitled, Hymn for Procession with Cross and Banners. The music was composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1871 with Sullivan naming the tune St. Gertrude. Baring-Gould is said to have written Onward, Christian Soldiers in only 15 minutes: ‘It was written in great haste’ he wrote, ‘and I am afraid some of the rhymes are faulty. Certainly nothing has surprised me more that its popularity. I don’t remember how it got printed first, but I know that very soon it found its way into several collections.’ [c.1870?].

There is a grainy illustration of the item and it can be seen that the text is that of the hymn as originally published in The Church Times in October 1864. It has the differences that the originally published version has from that sung today, including, in verse 2:

At the Sign of Triumph, Satan’s host doth flee

Rather than:

At the name of Jesus, Satan’s host doth flee

And in Verse 3:

We are not divided,   All one Body we –
One in hope, in doctrine, One in charity.

Rather than:

We are not divided,   All one Body we –
One in faith and Spirit,  One eternally.

The price given was $8,700 – or $23 per word.

‘Furze Bloom, Tales of the Western Moors’ by Sabine Baring-Gould




Sabine Baring-Gould’s collection of short stories, Furze Bloom, Tales of the Western Moors (Methuen, 1899) has been one of the hardest of his books to find. It was only produced in a cheap edition and few copies have survived in good condition. I recently obtained a copy and, because it was necessary to disbind it for repair, I scanned it and gave a copy of it to Becky Smith, who has now re-published it as a good quality paperback through Praxis Books.


It is a delightful collection of twelve stories, all set on the moors of West Devon and Cornwall and conveying the spirit of the landscape and its people with Baring-Gould’s customary verve. There is a new Introduction by Becky. You can buy a copy from her for £7 including postage. You can order the book by post, phone or e-mail. Send a cheque to Praxis Books, Crossways Cottage, Walterstone, Herefordshire. HR2 0DX. Becky’s phone number is 01873 890695 and her e-mail address is You can also pay through Paypal, using her email address.

SBGAS Annual Meeting 2018


The Annual Meeting and AGM of the Sabine Baring-Gould Appreciation Society will be held in Tavistock on the weekend of 5-7 October 2018. The programme is under construction and a suitable venue is being sought. We will (probably) be looking at two of the books written by Baring-Gould which are set in the Tamar Valley – Eve and Mrs Curgenven of Curvengen. There will be a supporting programme of related (and, perhaps, a few unrelated!) presentations.

More information will appear here when available, but get the dates in your diary.