A selection from the books that Sabine Baring-Gould wrote about folk song as well as the people and places of Devon and Cornwall. I have also listed the biographies of Baring-Gould that are currently available.


Sabine Baring-Gould was an astonishingly prolific writer on a vast range of topics. Roger Bristow has been working on his bibliography for several years and the most recent version of his list of Baring-Gould’s own publications now includes more than 1,400 titles. If you are keen to obtain the fullest possible listing you should contact:

Dr Roger Bristow, Davidsland, Brendon Hill, Copplestone, Devon, EX17 5NX,


Folk song collections:

Songs of the West (with H Fleetwood Sheppard

The first collection of folk songs published by Baring-Gould selected from those collected from the mouths of the people of Devon and Cornwall. Arrangements by the musical editor, Henry Fleetwood Sheppard and Baring-Gould's other collaborator, Frederick Bussell. Comprehensive notes on the songs and their background are included. First published by Patey and Willis and Methuen & Co. in 4 parts 1889-91. Republished in one volume by Methuen & Co 1891. Completely revised edition (with Cecil Sharp as musical editor) published by Methuen & Co., 1905.

A Garland of Country Songs

Baring-Gould and Sheppard's second collection brought in songs from other parts of England. Methuen and Co, 1895

English Minstrelsie (8 volumes)

A collection of English song which includes art and popular song as well as some folk songs. Wonderfully illustrated and with copious notes and essays, including one on folk song. TC & JC Jack, 1895

English Folk Songs for Schools

Written with Cecil Sharp, a collection of songs intended to instil a love of English song in children. J Curwen, 1906


Books about Devon and Cornwall

A Book of the West - Volume 1: Devon

A mixture of geography, history and tall tales woven into an entertaining tour of Devonshire. Methuen & Co, 1899. (republished in 1903 as ‘A book of Devon’)

A Book of the West - Volume 2: Cornwall

A similar mixture to the above, but dealing with Saints and Smugglers and other aspects of Cornish geography and folk history. Methuen & Co, 1899

A Book of Dartmoor

Similar in style to the Book of the West but focused on Dartmoor and covering S B-G’s archaeological adventures and theories in some detail. Methuen & Co, 1900

Devonshire Characters and Strange Events

A remarkable collection of stories and historical sketches on a wide range of topics related to Devon and to some of its notable inhabitants. J Lane, 1908

Cornish Characters and Strange Events

As above, this time for Cornwall. J Lane, 1909

Devon (A Methuen’s 'Little Guide')

A conventional guide-book with occasional flashes of authentic Baring-Gould. Methuen & Co, 1907 (remained in print until 1949).


Other books I like:

Old Country Life

A picture of country life in the second half of the Last century through Baring-Gould's eyes. A very enjoyable book that includes chapters on folk song and on village music. Methuen & Co, 1889

An Old English Home

Describes the growth of English houses great and small and the families that lived in them. Methuen & Co, 1898



'Early Reminiscences' and 'Further Reminiscences' by Sabine Baring-Gould

Baring-Gould's two volumes of autobiography - the third was written but never published. These books tell us a lot and reveals very little. Both volumes are a 'good read' and there is an excellent chapter on Folk Song in 'Further Reminiscences. John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd, 1923 and 1925

'Sabine Baring-Gould' by Bickford HC Dickinson

As his Grandson you would expect Dickinson to have had access to family papers. Unfortunately, because Lew Manor was tenanted during the years in which this book was written this was not the case as he could not get access to them. This is, nonetheless, the definitive biography. David and Charles, Newton Abbot, 1970

'Onward Christian Soldier' by W E Purcell

The first biography of Baring-Gould and contains a charming preface by John Betjeman who was a fan of Baring-Gould. Longmans, Green and Co, London, 1957

‘Half My Life – The Story of Sabine Baring-Gould and Grace’ by Keith Lister

The most recent of the biographies with much new information about the ‘Yorkshire end’ of the story. Keith Lister lives in Horbury and was fascinated by Sabine’s time there and by his relationship with Grace Taylor which led to his long marriage. Charnwood Publications, 13, Grove Road, Horbury, Wakefield, Yorks WF4 6AG

'Now The Day Is Over' by Harold Kirk-Smith

This biography, published in 1997, does shed a little extra light on Baring-Gould, but does not make use of the more recently discovered material. Richard Kay. Boston (Lincs), 1997