Rector of Lewtrenchard, Devon, he wrote more than 1,000 books and periodical articles on a wide range of subjects as well as undertaking pioneering work in recording Devon’s folk song heritage.
The plaque is located on 16 Southernhay East, the premises of Gilbert Stephens, solicitors, formerly known as Chichester Place.
Collector of folk songs of the West Country,
writer of novels, biographies, histories, and
books on travel, folklore and religion.
Rector of Lewtrenchard, Devon.
Born in Chichester Place, Southernhay
28 January 1834
The plaque was unveiled on 20 March 2020 by a great grand-daughter of Sabine Baring-Gould.
Sabine Baring-Gould was born in Chichester Place, Southernhay on 28 January 1834. He obtained a BA from Cambridge University in 1857 and became a teacher at Hurstpierpoint College. In 1862 he travelled round Iceland on horseback and collected saga manuscripts. After ordination in 1864 he served as curate at Horbury, Yorkshire where he met and married Grace Taylor, daughter of a mill-hand in 1868. Between 1869 and 1891 they had 15 children. From 1871 he was rector of East Mersea, Essex and in 1872 he inherited the family’s Lewtrenchard estate in Devon. As patron of the living he was able in 1881 to appoint himself rector of Lewtrenchard where he died on 2 January 1924. He was a great traveller and prolific writer on a wide range of subjects – biographies, folklore, travel books, theology, novels and hymns, including Onward, Christian soldiers. He was also active as an archaeologist on Dartmoor. Sabine Baring-Gould considered his greatest achievement to be his pioneering collecting of folk songs of Devon and Cornwall which he began in 1888. Many of these were published between 1889 and 1895 but manuscripts in Exeter and Plymouth libraries and archives preserve many more. More than twenty organisations and individuals who have been involved in maintaining his heritage are listed in a programme which is available on the website of the Devon bibliography.
Portraits of two of Sabine Baring-Gould’s song men are given below.