(1834-1924) UK clergyman, country squire and writer, mostly of nonfiction. He produced over 100 books on theology, topography (especially of Dartmoor), history, Folklore and Myth; he also wrote the hymn "Onward, Christian Soldiers" (1865). He began writing in 1857, but became most prolific when he inherited the family estate at Lew Trenchard, Devon, in 1881. An antiquarian with a fascination for local Legends and beliefs, he issued several important early studies, including The Book of Were Wolves: Being an Account of a Terrible Superstition (1865), Curious Myths of the Middle Ages Series I (1866) and Series II (1868), Curiosities of the Olden Times (1869) and A Book of Folklore (1913). This interest also caused him to write a number of short stories relating to legends, Witches, Ghosts and the paranormal, collected from over 50 years' output as A Book of Ghosts (coll 1904). SB-G taught himself Icelandic and Danish in order to undertake a modern adaptation of the Grettir Saga – Grettir the Outlaw: A Story of Iceland (1889) – while an interest in Fairytales resulted in A Book of Fairy Tales, Retold (coll 1894), The Crock of Gold (coll 1899), both assembling tales of a Twice-Told character, and a translation, Fairy Tales from Grimm (coll 1895). His diverse works make SB-G something of a forerunner to writers as various as M R James, Andrew Lang, William Morris, Eden Phillpotts and Montague Summers (1880-1948). [MA]
further reading: Onward Christian Soldier by W Purcell (1957).