BARING-GOULD, SABINE (1834- ), English novelist, was born at Exeter on the 28th of January 1834. After graduating at Clare College, Cambridge, he spent some years in travel, and became in 1864 curate of Horbury, Yorkshire; then perpetual curate of Dalton, in the same county, in 1867; and in 1871 rector of East Mersea, Essex. On his father's death in 1872 he inherited the estate of Lew Trenchard, North Devon, where his family had been settled for nearly three centuries, and he exchanged his Essex living for the rectory of Lew Trenchard in 1881. He had a ready pen, and began publishing books on one subject or another - fiction, travel, history, folk-lore, religion, mythology, from 1854 onwards. His novel Mehalah (1880), the scene of which is laid on the east coast of England, was an excellent story, and among many others may be mentioned John Herring (1883), a tale of the west country; Court Royal (1886); Red Spider (1887); The Pennycomequicks (1889); Cheap Jack Zita (1893); and Broom Squire (1896), a Sussex tale. His contributions to the study of topography, antiquities and folk-lore, while popularly written, were also full of serious research and real learning, notably his Book of Were-wolves (1865), Curious Myths of the Middle Ages (1866), Curious Survivals (1892). He produced at the same time many volumes of sermons and popular theology, and edited (1871-1873) The Sacristy, a quarterly review of ecclesiastical art and literature.
Living the life of the rapidly disappearing English "squarson," and full of cultivated interests, especially in humanizing the local village mind, and investigating and recording the good things of old-time, his many-sided activities were shown in every direction and his literary facility made his work known far and wide. His familiarity with the country-side and his interest in folk-lore were of special utility in recovering and preserving for publication a large mass of English popular song, and in assisting the new English movement for studying and appreciating the old national ballad-music.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)