Sabine Baring-Gould (1834 - 1924)
Sabine Baring-Gould spent the last 43 years of his life as Squire and Parson of Lewtrenchard, in West Devon and for much of this time he was active in the collection of traditional song in Devon and Cornwall and published Songs of the West in 1889. This was, as Cecil Sharp put it, The first serious and sustained attempt to collect the traditional songs of the English peasantry. Because he was trying something new Baring-Gould did it his way and brought into his work all the prejudices and conceits that mark his character as well as the scholarly interest, phenomenal memory for detail and ability with words that make it an exceptional collection.
He also brought his deep interest in people and in Characters. His published work contains many word pictures of the singers from whom he collected and these accounts leave us a unique insight into the lives of these men and women. What he has also left is a mass of manuscript and printed materials that he assembled during the course of his work and, particularly, his personal fair copy of his collected songs, from which most of the items on this album have been taken.